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Conservative CenturyThe Conservative Party since 1900$
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Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202387.001.0001

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The Party, Publicity, and the Media

The Party, Publicity, and the Media

(p.547) 14 The Party, Publicity, and the Media
Conservative Century


Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the Conservative Party's propaganda and relations with the media, from its use of lantern slides and gramophone records in Edwardian days to the sophisticated techniques employed in the present. It discusses the personnel and functions of the party's publicity machine at Central Office, and shows that the party pioneered the use of new technology, campaigning strategies, and specialist expertise. The chapter notes that, during the inter-war years, the Conservatives were quick to see the potential of film; by 1929 the party had a fleet of cinema vans touring the country and screening custom-made propaganda in towns and villages, reaching a larger audience more effectively than the traditional string of public meetings. After 1945, the party was still ahead of its rivals in its use of the media. Further innovations came in the use of market research and in the format of party political broadcasts in the late 1960s.

Keywords:   Conservative Party, propaganda, media, Central Office, film, cinema, public meetings, market research, political broadcasts

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