The relationships between narrative and leadership,
between rhetoric and performance, between doctrine and its voicing, are crucial
to party politics and are underrated by both practising politicians and
scholars. This study analyses the ‘performance of leadership’ in the UK Labour
Party, and what this means for a new approach to understanding politics. The
main focus of this study is the five-year leadership of Ed Miliband, 2010-2015.
The fortunes of the party and the party leadership can be apprehended as a
series of performed rhetorical events. A political leader’s persona is a
construction that performs – rather like an actor – in the political space. The
author identifies and analyses the architecture and the modalities of
leadership persona construction and performance in contemporary politics.
John Gaffney is Professor of Politics at Aston University, Birmingham, UK and Co-Director of the Aston Centre for Europe.