'Playing by the Book': Success and Failure in John Major's Approach to Prime Ministerial Media Management

  title={'Playing by the Book': Success and Failure in John Major's Approach to Prime Ministerial Media Management},
  author={Tim Bale and Karen B. Sanders},
  journal={Contemporary British History},
  pages={110 - 93}
Both the Thatcher and the Blair governments have been accused of politicising the Prime Ministerial press operation. This article asks whether it is possible to maintain a constitutionally clearer demarcation between the expressly political and the strictly governmental, and at the same time still pursue a successful communications strategy. Based on semi-structured interviews with both national journalists and government and party media managers, it uses the example of the Major governments to… 
Between media and politics : can government press officers hold the line in the age of 'political spin'? : the case of the UK after 1997
The aim of this study is to use the concept of ‘mediatization’ to inform a critical, grounded and fine-grained empirical analysis of the institutional dynamics that operate at the interface between
Between mediatisation and politicisation: The changing role and position of Whitehall press officers in the age of political spin
Despite widespread critiques of ‘political spin’, the way governments engage with the mass media has attracted relatively little empirical attention. There is a small but growing body of research
The Dynamics of Resistance and Response to Mediatization in Government: Whitehall Press Officers Caught in the “Cross-Field” Since 1997
This examination of mediatization in government asks how media change impacts on central bureaucracies and specifically on power asymmetries between the political and administrative arms of
Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office as Institutional Resources of the Prime Minister in the European (Monetary) Policy Core Executive
  • Birgit Bujard
  • Political Science, Economics
    The British Prime Minister in the Core Executive
  • 2018
In this chapter two of the prime minister’s institutional resources outlined in Chap. 6—the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Cabinet Office—are considered with respect to the four incumbents
Thatcher and Major: Covert Changes to the Rules of the Game
  • R. Garland
  • Government Communications and the Crisis of Trust
  • 2021
How Did We Get Here?
  • R. Garland
  • Government Communications and the Crisis of Trust
  • 2021
Public Communicator
Cognitive Style and Emotional Intelligence
  • Thomas McMeeking
  • Psychology
    The Political Leadership of Prime Minister John Major
  • 2020


Too close to call: Power and politics, John Major in No. 10
When John Major won the leadership of the Tory party in 1990, he listed his four priorities - inflation, unemployment, Northern Ireland and public services. He made another list for his collegaues of
Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms
The ‘new institutionalism’ is a term that now appears with growing frequency in political science. However, there is considerable confusion about just what the ‘new institutionalism’ is, how it
Campaign 1997 : how the general election was won and lost
Chronicles the workings of the political media machine as the election approached, offering a doorstepper's-eye view of a campaign which, whatever the outcome, represents a watershed in British
Time for No. 10 to catch up
A total of 12 Conservative MPs resigned from office over charges of personal misconduct
  • The British General Election
  • 1997
Not surprisingly, given the celebrated ingenuity of tabloid headline writers, the PM's handling of sex scandals and economic policy were immediately linked
  • with the Sun exclaiming on 17 October, the day after Black Wednesday
Negrine, Politics and the Mass Media in Britain (London: Routledge, 1994), Bob Franklin, Packaging Politics: Political Communications in Britain’s Media Democracy (London
  • (London: Macmillan,
  • 1945
Britain at the Polls (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 1997)
  • Best by far on Major himself is Anthony Seldon, Major: A Political Life (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997). See also Peter Dorey (ed.), The Major Premiership: Politics and Policies under John Major, 1990–1997
  • 1999