Campaign 1997 Author Nicholas Jones Published by Indigo 1997 ISBN 0-575-40116-8
Incisive, revealing and funny, Campaign 1997 describes the cut and thrust of political street-fighting through the most intense general election in living memory. Veteran BBC political correspondent Nicholas Jones, whose book Soundbites and Spin Doctors was described by Anthony Howard as "an essential primer for all who want to understand the strange no man's land between politicians and journalists", chronicles the political media machine cranking up to full steam as the election approached and gives a doorstepper's-eye view of a campaign which, whatever the outcome, was always going to represent a watershed in British politics.
From the day the Conservative Party grafted those demonic devil eyes on to Tony Blair's grinning face when unleashing its controversial "New Labour, New Danger" campaign, to the day when Labour Party workers were instructed to stage "a spontaneous outpouring from offices and factories" to greet the new Prime Minister, the 1997 general election was fought as much by the spin doctors as by the politicians.
In an age when election campaigns are fought largely through the news media, reporters are effectively the public's front-line troops. Their task is to examine and explain the policies on which the parties hope to get elected. Campaign 1997 represents an account from the battlefront of the campaign of '97, with the intention of illustrating the challenges which confront electors as electioneering becomes ever more sophisticated. Labour's historic landslide victory in the 1997 general election was so decisive, and the routing of the Conservatives so comprehensive, that many political analysts have ventured to suggest that the six week campaign made little difference to the way people voted.
Campaign 1997 seeks to explain how Labour established and then maintained their supremacy in influencing, and even manipulating, the news media. Never before had a British political party put so much effort into presentation.