Judi Atkins

  • Permalink Gallery

    ‘Rivers of Blood’ fifty years on: Enoch Powell’s rhetoric of blame and exclusion

‘Rivers of Blood’ fifty years on: Enoch Powell’s rhetoric of blame and exclusion

It is five decades since Enoch Powell told a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham that soon “the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”. Judi Atkins analyses the rhetoric of that speech and concludes that, although Powell’s notorious prediction of a race war has not materialised, his rhetoric of division and blame still forms part […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    How to make a coalition work: rhetoric lessons from the 2010-15 government

How to make a coalition work: rhetoric lessons from the 2010-15 government

How was it that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition lasted for a full five-year term? Although the formal and informal machinery of resolving disputes was important, rhetorical strategies also mattered, writes Judi Atkins. She explains how by invoking values, goals, the ‘national interest’ and a common enemy, the Coalition not only endured but appealed to multiple audiences as well.

Following the […]

  • Permalink Edward Miliband - UK Parliament official portraits 2017Gallery

    Theresa May, Ed Miliband, and the problem of the ‘personalised political’

Theresa May, Ed Miliband, and the problem of the ‘personalised political’

Should political leaders strive to make voters identify with their values and interests? Judi Atkins looks at Ed Miliband and Theresa May’s attempts to this effect, and explains why they failed.

On 13 July 2016 the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced her intention to lead a ‘one-nation government’. Her carefully cultivated image of strength and stability provided much-needed reassurance […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    How new multi-party governments can construct an image of unity

How new multi-party governments can construct an image of unity

In this article, Judi Atkins examines the rhetorical strategies employed by senior figures in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in May 2010. Appeals to values, goals, the ‘national interest’ and a common enemy enabled the partners to create an image of unity and win widespread public support for the coalition. She suggests that, with another hung parliament and potential coalition after the […]

Mending “Broken Britain”: From the Respect Agenda to the Big Society

Judi Atkins argues that David Cameron’s conception of a ‘broken Britain’ and the Big Society have ideological underpinnings that suggest that he is best seen not as the ‘heir to Blair’, but as the ‘son of Thatcher’. Addressing the Centre for Social Justice in 2006, David Cameron argued that ‘we have to show a lot more love’ towards disaffected young people. Although subsequently derided as his ‘hug […]

Show – don’t tell: Political rhetoric is increasingly anecdotal but not particularly artful

Anecdotes have become one of the most common rhetorical devices in political speeches and debates to prove the success of policies or to illustrate that a leader is ‘down to earth’. Judi Atkins and Alan Finlayson explain why our politicians are ignoring Shakespeare and Keats and instead turning to ‘Holly from Southampton’ to prove their virtues. In the first of […]