1997 General Election

  • Created by: AnyaSea
  • Created on: 14-12-21 20:41

Results & turnout

-Labour: 418 seats(gained 145), 43.2% of the vote

-Conservative: 165 seats(lost 178), 30.7% of the vote

-Liberal Democrat: 46 seats(gained 28), 16.8% of the vote

-Ulster Unionist: 10 seats

-SNP: 6 seats

-Plaid Cymru: 4 seats

-SDLP: 3 seats

-Sinn Fein & Dem. Unionist: 2 seats

-Speaker, Unionist & Independent: 1 seat each

-Turnout was 71.4%

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Voting statistics

-A general swing towards Labour in both genders

-The larger increase in votes for  Labour was among women

-This may have been due to the increase in working women, and Thatcher had also lost her power

-The Labour vote increased among all age groups, but lesser for older age groups

-Labour led in all ethnic groups- 82% of black voters voted for Labour, but this was a long term trend for ethnic minorities, perhaps due to socio-economic backgrounds, parties’ historic attitudes to race, immigration & race equality legislation etc.

-The Sun may have contributed, as it tends to support winning parties & candidates in general elections

-Labour did well in Scotland, Wales & North England, and Conservatives did worse there, however Labour gained votes in every region & Conservatives lost votes

-Mondeo Man: this was Tony Blair’s ideal person who needed to attract to the Labour Party; in his 30s, married, owned his home(semi-detached), lived in the south-east and drove a Ford Mondeo(hence the name), perhaps as a response to Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Essex Man’

-41% of class ABs voted for the conservatives compared to 31% for Labour, while 50% of C2s & 59% of DEs voted for Labour, compared with 27% & 21% respectively

-Although this disguises the trend from 1992, where voting percentage among ABs for the Tories had decreased by 15%

-This data slightly undermines the swing from Tory to Labour

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Hot issues/valence factors

-The country’s relationship with the European Union

-The pound had been crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, just a few years earlier under the Conservative government

-Tories had been feuding over the European Union, which may have led the public to believe that the Tories were weak

-There was also a lot of sleaze from the Tories, with 12 resignations from office over allegations of ‘personal impropriety’(according to the BBC)

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The campaign & role of media

-The Conservative Party had an image problem leading up to the 1997 election

-They were very divided, scandals had damaged their reputation

-John Major described the party’s manifesto as ‘bold’ & ‘eye-catching’

-The Labour Party had a campaign song: ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by D.Ream, and also ‘Labour’s Coming Home’

-Labour tried to push more of a ‘pro-business’ image

-It could be argued that The Sun perhaps had a hand in the election results, the evidence for this being quasi-experiments done on some English towns

-The biggest increase in Labour voters was in The Sun readers

-The biggest collapse in Conservative voters was in The Times readers

-Some people think newspapers may have started to lose their significance with more people getting political news(and therefore their views) from TV news

-Spin doctors: politicians employed press advisors

-New Labour tried to manipulate the press to put out the ‘message of the day’

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The role of the party leader

-Blair introduced ‘New Labour’, which moved the party more towards the centre, and it was much less socialist

-Blair was seen as young, charismatic, energetic and even ‘cool’

-The vision of ‘New Labour’ was pretty much the image of the party

-Blair tried to distance the party from its leftist & trade unionist history

-Blair wanted to try and ‘modernise’ the party

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Impact on the political system

-Powers were devolved to Scotland & Wales in 1997 and ‘bringing peace’ to Ireland(according to The Guardian)

-Gay rights were extended

-’New Labour’ was introduced

-There was some economic growth

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