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Title: 'Opposition-Craft' : an evaluative framework for official opposition parties in the United Kingdom
Author: Lack, Edward Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 1560
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis offers a distinctive and innovative framework for the study of effective official opposition politics in the United Kingdom. While other work has focused on narrow aspects of life in opposition – such as leadership, media communications, or policy – this work draws together the entire scope of skills into a framework, described as ‘Opposition-Craft’, against which any official UK opposition can be tested for its effectiveness. Using Bulpitt’s 1986 paper on ‘Statecraft’ as its inspiration, this thesis compiles a similar set of key elements that an opposition must possess if it is to have any hope of victory at a general election. Bulpitt established a set of criteria around the key structural aspects of a good government which, if followed, would likely result in a governing party remaining in power. In that regard, ‘Statecraft’ focused on parties of government, whereas this new framework produces a similar set of criteria by which an opposition can be measured. Following the creation of the model in the opening chapter, subsequent chapters go on to test the framework against four distinct periods of opposition from 1980 onwards, each of which assesses a wide spectrum of electoral success: Michael Foot’s Labour Party, 1980-83, Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party, 1987-92, Tony Blair’s Labour Party, 1994-97, and David Cameron’s Conservative Party, 2005-10. By applying the model and forming judgements around their relative success, this project will evaluate why, during the post-war period, the Conservative Party has been more successful in opposition than the Labour Party. Thus, ‘Opposition-Craft’ is the first of its kind in that it presents a full exploration of all dimensions involved in the technique of opposition. In that regard, if Bulpitt’s notion of ‘Statecraft’ is the art of successful government, then ‘Opposition-Craft’ is the art of successful opposition.
Supervisor: Honeyman, Victoria ; Heppell, Timothy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available