Anticipating the age of political spin: an historical analysis of 1980s government communications

Garland, Ruth. 2019. Anticipating the age of political spin: an historical analysis of 1980s government communications. In: Ian Somerville; Lee Edwards and Øyvind Ihlen, eds. Public Relations, Society and the Generative Power of History. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 159-172. ISBN 9781138317109 [Book Section]

Anticipating the age of political spin.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (476kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This chapter considers the generative role of changes in government communication practices in response to the rise of the new multi-channel environment during the 1980s. It deals with some predictions about the direction of travel, and some thoughts on possible solutions to the problem of public distrust in government communication. A series of critical government and parliamentary reviews into government communications also blamed political actors, and called for a return to a less partisan style of public communication in order to rebuild trust. The chapter outlines the methodological approach and reflecting on the generative role of history in influencing the actions of political and media elites, both in the UK and elsewhere. The Conservative Party had successfully applied political marketing techniques during the 1979 election, and once in power sought to implement a more persuasive style of communication that later came to be known as ‘political spin.’

Item Type:

Book Section


UK government, political communication, political spin, 1980s

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


4 September 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2022 10:55

Last Modified:

08 May 2024 09:44


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)