ブレア政権のメディア政治 : メディア・キャンペーンと政党政治の変容 Media Politics of the Blair Government : Media Campaign and Changes of Party Politics
There is no doubt about that the British media environment has transformed significantly since the early 1990s. We are witnessing the emergence of twenty-four-hour dedicated TV and radio news channels and an explosion of news services on the Internet. A process of more partisan dealignment than realignment on the part of newspapers has taken place, with newspaper support now frequently more issue-oriented than party-based. At the same time the style of news is changing, from relatively straight reporting of events to an increasingly analytical, evaluative and critical journalism. Main purposes of this article are to analyze how the Blair government has responded to such a media environment which is characterized by increasing complexity and insecurity, and whichimpacts the media campaign under the Blair government had on British party politics. The Blair government, more clearly than any of its post-war predecessor, is a permanently campaigning administration. What is undoubtedly new in New Labour's political communications strategy is that the presentation of policy has become more significant than the substantive policy content. New Labour has attempted to re-create in government the rigid message discipline. To that end, it has strengthened the central control of Number 10 over government departments. The Strategic Communication Unit, established in January 1998, is the key institutional mechanism for centralizing communications at Number 10 under the control of the Prime Minster's press secretary, Alaster Campbell. The active use of political marketing was the centre of electoral campaigning of the Labour party under Blair. As far as party models which Lees-Marshment classified from the viewpoint of the marketing process are concerned, Blair's New Labour Party can be seen as the most recent and easily identifiable case of 'Market-Oriented Party ' in contrast to 'Product-Oriented Party'and 'Sales-Oriented Party. 'A key focus for this article is the way in which the changing nature and organizations of campaigning have impacted on the balance of power within the party. There is no room for doubt that power has been increasingly centralized in the Labour leadership around the Leader' Office necessitated by the marketing approach. Why was New Labour so preoccupied with the presentation of policy? One of the most important reasons is the loss of clear policy differences between the major parties, since New Labour adopted main policy frameworks under Thatcher and Major governments. We have witnessing the rise of judgmental voting, and above all, the retrospective voting in the era of class and partisan dealignment since the early 1980s. New Labours' obsession with the media seems to reflect the opportunities which the various media offer the executive to communicate directly with citizens. The use of focus group as well as quantitative researches like polling is immensely significant since it reveals the extent to which political marketing are involved in not only policy presentation, but also policy making. On the other hand, the electorate is showing a marked tendency to decide their political attitudes on the basis of governments' performance, images of political leaders and so on. A significant consequence of this direct communication between executive and citizens has been the marginalizing of Parliament. In this vein, it could be argued that the contemporary British politics is moving toward a plebiscitary model of democracy.
- 国際文化学研究 : 神戸大学国際文化学部紀要
国際文化学研究 : 神戸大学国際文化学部紀要 (24), 1-39, 2005-09