Controlled conditions: An analysis of the positioning of migration during the prime ministerial debates for the 2010 UK general election
Gross, B. (2012) Controlled conditions: An analysis of the positioning of migration during the prime ministerial debates for the 2010 UK general election. In: Moore, K., Gross, B. and Threadgold, T., eds. (2012) Migrations and the Media. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 47-64. ISBN 9781433107719
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In 2010 for the first time in a UK general election, the candidates for Prime Minster of the three major parties, Gordon Brown for Labour, David Cameron for the Conservatives and Nick Clegg for the Liberal-Democrats, faced each other in a series of three television debates in front of a carefully selected audience supposed to represent the British electorate. After opening statements by each of the candidates—again—carefully selected members of the audience posed—again—carefully selected questions to the panel. This aspect of selection represents the link through which the debates can be defined as the outcome of a journalistic production process. This chapter will start out with a consideration of the rules that governed the debate to establish the role journalists played in shaping its content. The actual content in relation to migration will then be analysed in relation to Britain as a nation state. The chapter concludes by returning to the role of journalists, this time by analysing a particular exchange within the debates. Though Britain’s status as a multicultural and multinational state raises specific issues, the argument illustrates a dynamic of wider applicability: current discourses of nation state and migration render the latter as permanent source of crisis for the former.
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