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Political Performance and Leadership Persona: The UK Labour Party Conference of 2012

Abstract

This article is a contribution to an emerging scholarship on the role of rhetoric, persona and celebrity, and the effects of performance on the political process. We analyse party leader Ed Miliband at the UK Labour Party Conference in Manchester in 2012. Our analysis identifies how, through performance of ‘himself’ and the beginnings of the deployment of an alternative party narrative centred on ‘One Nation’, Ed Miliband began to revise his ‘received persona’. By using a range of rhetorical and other techniques, Miliband began to adapt the Labour narrative to the ‘personalized political’. The article sets out the theoretical framework for the analysis and returns to the implications for the theory of leadership performance in its conclusion.

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John Gaffney is Professor of Politics and Co-director of the Aston Centre for Europe at Aston University. Contact email: j.gaffney@aston.ac.uk.

Amarjit Lahel is a Research Fellow in Politics and International Relations at Aston University. Contact email: a.lahel1@aston.ac.uk.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J. Atkins (2011), Justifying New Labour Policy (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

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R. Pettitt (2012), ‘Me, Myself and I: Self Referencing in Labour Party Conference Leaders’ Speeches’, British Politics, 7(1): 111134.

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R. Toye (2011), ‘The Rhetorical Premiership: A New Perspective on Prime Ministerial Power Since 1945’, Parliamentary History, 30(2): 175192.

M. Wheeler (2012), ‘The Democratic Worth of Celebrity Politics in an Era of Late Modernity’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 14(3): 407422.

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
  • URL: /core/journals/government-and-opposition
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