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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.


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


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)

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Date:November 2010
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:
Funders:Economic and Social Science Research Council, Office for Civil Society, Barrow Cadbury Trust
ID Code:789

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