burson-marsteller's election perspectives

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The Burson-Marsteller Elections Perspectives includes perspectives and viewpoints on the UK prime minister race from political strategists and experts in the field – including US election strategist and B-M CEO Mark Penn and former Tory MP and Cameron adviser Andrew MacKay.

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  • A wider communications perspective

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    Burson-Marstellers Election Perspectives

  • 1Table of Contents

    Foreword 3

    Expect the unexpected 4

    Britain in the EU in a post-election world 6

    Election factoids 8

    Seats to watch 10

    Where were you when...? 12

    Swingometer 13

    The balance of power 14

    A Cameron Government? 16

    About Burson-Marsteller 18

  • The one certain outcome from this election will be the creation of a new government of whatever political colour.

    2

  • 3Foreword

    Firstly Id like to welcome you to tonights event I hope you enjoy the evening, the panel discussion and the debate itself.

    To accompany the event weve produced a Burson-Marsteller Election Brochure which includes perspectives and viewpoints from political strategists and experts in the fi eld including US election strategist and B-M CEO Mark Penn and former Tory MP and Cameron adviser Andrew MacKay.

    The one certain outcome from this election will be the creation of a new government of whatever political colour. For business this presents both an opportunity, to engage the government on the big issues that will help business grow and succeed in Britain, but also a challenge to ensure that their issues and concerns are refl ected in the thinking at the highest level.

    At Burson-Marsteller we have an experienced and dynamic Public Affairs team drawn from senior political practitioners of all major parties Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat so that whatever the result on May 7th, we are well placed to support your campaigns and get across the issues that matter to your business.

    And to help you navigate the complexities of the new Parliament, Burson-Marsteller is offering your business a bespoke Political Healthcheck. Our expert team will be happy to sit down with you and talk through the challenges and opportunities the new Parliament could present your business and plan your strategy for success. If you are interested in learning more about the Political Healthcheck and how it could help your company, please dont hesitate to get in touch with me at [email protected]

    The attached USB card (which will hopefully come in handy for your own fi les) also contains a brief fi lm explaining what Burson-Marsteller does and how you can fi nd out more.

    I hope you enjoy the evening.

    Best wishes

    Matt Carter

    Matt CarterCEO, Burson-Marsteller UK

  • 4

    With a week to go before the poll, the 2010 UK election has already taken so many twists and turns that the safest prediction at this point is to continue to expect the unexpected.

    From the explosive revelations brought to light in the expenses scandal last year, to the Cleggmania that has gripped the UK over the last two weeks, this has been an election that has put parties in a state of permanent crisis and left the traditional campaign playbook in tatters.

    The introduction of US-style election debates undoubtedly transformed the landscape from what was a run-of-the-mill election into a real contest and whatever the result, Nick Clegg has earned a prominence in British politics he struggled to win before.

    By contrast, the Conservative campaign has moved from supreme confi dence to nervous jitters, and from looking a certainty for offi ce back in 2009, they are now fi ghting hard to win any majority at all.

    And Labour has moved from being almost neck and neck with the Tories at the beginning of the campaign to trailing both the other parties in third place a position which if repeated in the actual election would surely mark the end of Gordon Browns Premiership.

    The campaign itself has in many ways become more centralised with a greater focus on national events like the Leaders Debates and fewer leaders visits around the country but the election itself is going to be won and lost in lots of local battles, many of which will be decided by only a handful of votes.

    And contrary to the traditional wisdom that the incumbency effect means sitting MPs start with an inbuilt advantage, the negative coverage of the expenses scandal and the massive number of MPs standing down this time means that any previous benefi t for incumbents is likely to be negated.

    As polling day approaches, the polls would suggest it is still wide open and the performance of the Leaders in this third debate could really make all the difference.

    Many a Presidential candidate in the US has triumphed at the start of the debate series only to fade by polling day.

    Mark PennCEO, Burson-Marsteller worldwide

    Expect the unexpected The 2010 UK Election Campaign

  • 5For me, in this debate Brown has to fi nally show his vision for the future. Hes known as Mr Policy but just standing on his solid handling of the economic crisis in the past isnt enough for an electorate who want to know what their future government will do for them.

    Cameron needs to fi nally connect with the change British people want in a way that he hasnt been able to so far. As a typical front-runner, Cameron was caught out by playing it cautious early on in the campaign. Continuing on that path is not a luxury he can any longer afford he has to come out fi ghting again as he did last week.

    And for Clegg, the dramatic rise in his standing has brought with it its own challenges in greater scrutiny and examination of the Lib Dems and their policies, which judging from last weeks performance may just be starting to eat into his new-found support. Many a Presidential candidate in the US has triumphed at the start of the debate series only to fade by polling day. Clegg needs to avoid this fate if he really wants to be the surprise success in this election.

    Mark Penn is the global CEO of Burson-Marsteller, who advised Tony Blair in his 2005 race, Bill Clinton in his re-election and Hillary Clinton in 2008. He was the strategic adviser to the US presidential debates in 1996 and over 20 presidential primary debates in 2008.

    This has been an election that has put parties on a state of permanent crisis and left the traditional campaign playbook in tatters.

    5

  • 6

    Britains place in the European Union has been a hot political issue since the UK joined the EEC in 1973 and even before then, as Britain pondered its post war role in Europe. Controversy about Britains relationship with the EU reached its peak in the early-to-mid 1990s with the civil war in John Majors ailing government caused by the Maastricht Treaty.

    Despite public concern about the Lisbon Treaty, Labour has successfully avoided allowing Europe to become an all consuming political issue during its 13 years in offi ce. And despite a generally eurosceptic public there is little evidence that Europe is an issue that determines a signifi cant number of votes at general elections, although the UK Independence Party has had impressive results at the last two European elections.

    I dont see this election being any different despite some broken European promises from Labour and the Tories and the Liberals very pro-EU stance which is clearly out of step with public opinion. While last weeks second leaders

    election debate started with a question on Europe the issue didnt dominate the debate at all in a way it would have done in the 1990s. The Lisbon Treaty, which re-packaged much of the draft EU constitution, came without a referendum, despite a promise in 2005 from all three main parties to hold a vote on the original text. The fact is that none of the three major parties has anything to gain by making Europe a key election issue. Even the Tories, whose views are probably closest to public opinion, dont want to re-ignite internal debate on Europe.

    A (unlikely) Labour victory on 6 May would promise more of the same in terms of EU policy hoping to avoid any treaty changes but working with the EU to address issues such as the economy, energy and climate change. But it is telling that the Labour manifesto mentions Europe only a handful of times in a 78-page document and then only in general terms.

    The Liberal Democrats have perhaps the most quietly explosive policy a referendum on EU membership, which would be the fi rst such poll

    Britain in the EU in a post- election world

    Jeremy GalbraithCEO, Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa

  • 7since 1975. Elsewhere, the Lib Dems manifesto is very pro-European (unlike their opponents, they still propose to join the single European currency, albeit when the economic conditions are right and after a referendum). The Lib Dems leader, Nick Clegg, has strong Euro-credentials (he is a former MEP and European Commission offi cial). Wary of attacks on his background, he says that he is a critical friend of the EU and that he is the only party leader to understand the Unions workings properly. If there is to be a hung parliament, it is not out of the question that a Lib-Lab agreement could see Clegg as foreign secretary (possibly with the unpopular Gordon Brown ditched as prime minister and replaced by a more acceptable Labour fi gure, such as David Miliband). This is, of course, the dream scenario for many in Brussels!

    Nevertheless, a Conservative victory or at least David Cameron as prime minister remains the most likely scenario next week. And political commentators suggest this outcome could have profound effects on Britains relationship with its EU partners. I am not so sure.

    David Cameron plans to repatriate powers fr