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Cancer Research UK case study - Working with a coalition government


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Layla Theiner, Public Affairs Manager for the EU at Cancer Research UK, delivered this presentation at the free Forum for Change seminar on working with a hung parliament on Thursday 27 May 2010.

The Forum for Change is a national network of campaigners and policy workers across the community and voluntary sector. For more information about the Forum for Change please visit

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Cancer Research UK case study - Working with a coalition government

  1. 1. Shaping your messages Forum for Change seminar: Working with a hung parliament Thursday 27 May 2010
  2. 2. Lessons from Europe • Coalitions are common across Europe • Italy is often held up as an example of instability that can accompany coalitions • However, Finland, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands, for example, all show it can be done • Tailor messaging to the position of the coalition (or party leading on a particular policy area) 27 May, 2010
  3. 3. “In the German football team, players from different clubs need to get on with each other both on and off the pitch. In the grand coalition, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats sit in the same boat and need to pull in the same direction.” Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (during „grand coalition‟) 27 May, 2010
  4. 4. Coalitions in Scotland and Wales • Scotland's first two governments after devolution were Labour-Liberal Democrat coalitions • SNP minority government since 2007 elections • In Wales, Labour and Plaid Cymru agreed to form a coalition government in 2007 27 May, 2010
  5. 5. Experience from Scotland and Wales • Working with coalitions is very similar to working with a majority Government • The aim is to get the Government „on side‟ • Where there is an agreement in place, and coalition holds together • Focus on Government • But keeping political messaging palatable to a wider audience, as was generally the case 27 May, 2010
  6. 6. Experience from other coalitions • Usual rules apply • Fit messaging to the tone of Government • Tailor messages to audience but consistency with other messages • There can be more opportunities for lobbying • Benefit of a coalition – if on side, can show broader support • Early days for Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition but got used to it quickly in Scotland and Wales 27 May, 2010
  7. 7. Additional insights • Liberal Democrats in Scotland had thought more about how a coalition would work and therefore used their leverage very effectively • Different parties in coalitions have worked together closely • Although there can be issues where there is a free vote or just different political consensus • However, coalitions can also change the political landscape on certain issues • Fill in any gaps in contacts 27 May, 2010
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