'Together in the National Interest’: The Rhetoric of Unity and the Formation of the Cameron–Clegg Government

Judi Atkins

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Following the formation of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat government in May 2010, David Cameron and Nick Clegg sought to persuade party members, the electorate and a sceptical media that their partnership would hold together for the duration of the parliament. Taking as its starting point Kenneth Burke's theory of rhetoric as identification, this article explores the strategies employed by senior Coalition figures to construct and present an image of unity to these different audiences. Of particular concern are appeals to the parties’ shared values and to the ‘national interest’, as well as the narrative of Britain's ‘debt crisis’. This narrative served to minimise inter-party divisions by inviting MPs and supporters to unite behind the cause of deficit reduction, in opposition to the ‘fiscally irresponsible’ Labour party that had allegedly wrecked the economy. The article concludes by reflecting on the lessons for the partners in a future UK coalition government.Publisher statement: ‘This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J. (2015) 'Together in the National Interest’: The Rhetoric of Unity and the Formation of the Cameron–Clegg Government. Political Quarterly, volume 86 (1): 85–92, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12140. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'. (http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html#terms).
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Atkins, J 2015, ''Together in the National Interest’: The Rhetoric of Unity and the Formation of the Cameron–Clegg Government' Political Quarterly, vol 86, no. 1, pp. 85–92. DOI: 10.1111/1467-923X.12140, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12140 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85–92
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Bibliographical note

Please note due to the publisher's policy, the full text of this item will not be available from the repository until 26th March 2017.
‘This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Atkins, J. (2015) 'Together in the National Interest’: The Rhetoric of Unity and the Formation of the Cameron–Clegg Government. Political Quarterly, volume 86 (1): 85–92, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12140. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'. (http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html#terms).

Keywords

  • coalition government
  • United Kingdom
  • rhetoric
  • ideology
  • national interest
  • deficit reduction

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