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Opportunity and influence: the third sector and the 2010 general election

Parry, Jane and Alcock, Peter and Kendall, Jeremy (2010) Opportunity and influence: the third sector and the 2010 general election. Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

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URL of Published Version: http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Kai2iXclPCU%3d&tabid=500

Abstract

This paper explores how the different voices and interests of the third sector, political parties and media have shaped and reflected the policy agenda over the course of the 2010 general election campaign and into the early post-election period. Using research methods which combined documentary analysis with qualitative interviews with key policy actors in the third sector, we examine the relative success of different campaigning methods in an election that was unique both in its uncertain electoral outcome and in terms of the relative consensus that political parties expressed at the outset towards the third sector. A range of third sector and political manifestos are considered, highlighting the ideological significance of the language employed and assessing the impact of one against the other. Attention is drawn to the raised profile achieved by the third sector early in the election campaign and reflected in its coverage in the three main political parties’ manifestos. This was followed by a relative lack of substantive sectoral discussion during the unusual period of the election and purdah, when the sector concentrated upon a consolidation and commentary role. The Conservative’s Big Society agenda lost momentum during the election, and the Citizens UK ‘fourth debate’ prompted an unexpected late surge of media interest in the sector. The new political realities of the post-election period have seen refocus on policy development and rebranding, return to third sector campaigning and realignment in sectoral–state relations in the context of a (revived) Big Society politics.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Number of Pages:16
Department:Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC)
References:

Charity Commission (2008, March) ‘CC9. Speaking out: guidance on campaigning and political activity by charities’, http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Publications/cc9.aspx.
Charity Commission (2010, January) ‘Charities and elections: guidance update’,
http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Library/guidance/elect.pdf.
Conservative Party (2010) ‘Invitation to join the government of Britain: the conservative manifesto 2010’
http://media.conservatives.s3.amazonaws.com/manifesto/cpmanifesto2010_lowres.pdf

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Kendall, J. (2009) ‘The third sector and the policy process in the UK: ingredients in a hyperactive horizontal policy environment’, in J. Kendall (ed.) Handbook of Third Sector Policy in Europe: Multi-level Processes and Organised Civil Society. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Labour Party (2010) The Labour Party Manifesto 2010: A Future Fair for All.
http://www2.labour.org.uk/uploads/TheLabourPartyManifesto-2010.pdf.

Liberal Democrat Party (2010) Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010,
http://network.libdems.org.uk/manifesto2010/libdem_manifesto_2010.pdf.

Plummer, J. (2010, 18 May) ‘Sixteen charities accused of party political activity’, Third Sector,
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Slevin, P. (2007) ‘For Clinton and Obama a common ideological touchstone’, Washington Post, 25 March,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/24/AR2007032401152.html.

Stratton, A. (2010, 3 May) ‘Gordon Brown triumphs in unofficial fourth TV leadership debate’, Guardian,
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Wiggins, K. (2009, 15 Sept) ‘Charities revise party conference tactics’, Third Sector Online, .

Series/Collection Name:TSRC Working Paper Series
Keywords:Third sector, general election, manifestos, campaigning, Coalition Government, Big Society, purdah, media, consensus, ideology, rebranding.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Related URLs:
URLURL Type
http://www.tsrc.ac.ukOrganisation
Funders:Economic and Social Science Research Council, Office for Civil Society, Barrow Cadbury Trust
ID Code:789

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