chapter  23
Delivering in government and getting results in minorities and coalitions
ByAnna Esselment
Pages 13

A key component of political marketing principles is the ‘product’. In the ideal market-oriented party (MOP), the product has been carefully crafted based on market intelligence gathered from extensive consultation with both the public (through focus groups and polling surveys), and party members and volunteers (Lees-Marshment 2001). The product itself is multifaceted and can include, among other aspects, the image of the leader (for example, open, accessible, trustworthy), type of party candidates (competent and responsive), the logo of the party, and policy commitments contained in the campaign platform (ibid.). While much of the literature on political marketing has focused on its techniques to help parties win elections, less emphasis has been placed on whether, or how, the product (particularly election promises) is delivered in government. Considering the design of the product has been informed by market intelligence, success in power is often dependent on the ability to implement the identified policy preferences of voters. In other words, if a party wishes re-election, delivering on commitments is crucial. The focus of this chapter is on product delivery. First, it will provide an overview of the

literature on delivery in government within the political marketing context. Express attention will be devoted to ‘delivery units’, specialized structures within the centre of government initially designed by the British New Labour Party to oversee the implementation of policy priorities. Have these implementation units been successful in translating electoral commitments into government policy? If so, are they a new necessity to the machinery of government, particularly for a MOP that wants to maintain its market-orientation in power? Second, this chapter will analyze product delivery in a minority government. A minority

parliament (or ‘hung’ parliament as it is called elsewhere) occurs when no political party has won a majority of seats in the House of Commons (the lower House in a bicameral parliamentary system). In this type of parliament usually the party that has won the most seats, but not a majority, forms the government. That party must govern with the help of opposition parties in order to pass legislation. If important legislation fails (for example, supply measures), this is considered a loss of confidence in the government and, in most cases, Parliament is dissolved and new elections are called.