British General Election Campaigns 1830-2019: Can The Past Inform The Future?”

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British General Election Campaigns 1830-2019: Can The Past Inform The Future?”

1 May @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The British general election is the linchpin of our liberal democracy, and its results are often fundamental to how we live. With the next UK general election looming, there is therefore no better time to understand some of the elections that have preceded it. Not necessarily as a prediction for what might happen next, but to serve as a reminder of how important and determinative General Elections are for this country.

Fortunately, the author, broadcaster and commentator Iain Dale is here to help. In his latest book, British General Election Campaigns 1830–2019: The 50 General Election Campaigns That Shaped Our Modern Politics he delivers a showcase of all 50 general election campaigns, with an essay for each of them penned by key political writers, including John Curtice, Julia Langdon, Simon Heffer, Peter Snow, Sue Cameron, Vernon Bogdanor and many others.

The Henry Jackson Society is accordingly delighted to welcome Iain Dale and two of his collaborators, Times Radio presenter and former Sky News Editor-at-Large Adam Boulton, and Professor Tim Baleprofessor of Politics at Queen Mary University, London, to discuss events and lessons from the past 200 years. Our guests will recap some of our most iconic past campaigns, explain how they related to our democracy then and continue to relate to it now, and explore whether our conduct of elections has changed. They will also examine whether there are any evolutionary threads from the past that might continue into the future on campaigning techniques and how we pursue our democratic rights and responsibilities.



Iain Dale presents the Evening Show on LBC Radio and has twice been Radio Presenter of the Year. Iain is a regular pundit on Good Morning Britain, Politics Live and Newsnight. He co-hosts the award winning ‘For the Many’ podcast with Jacqui Smith. Iain writes for various publications including the New Statesman and the Daily Telegraph.

He spent 20 years in publishing and runs online bookshop

Iain has written or edited more than 50 books, the latest being Why Can’t We All Get Along: Shout Less, Listen MoreThe Prime Ministers 1721-2020: Three Hundred Years of Political Leadership (Hodder & Stoughton), The Presidents: 250 Years of American Political LeadershipOn This Day in Politics (Allen & Unwin), Kings & Queens and British General Election Campaigns 1830-2019.

He is a non-executive director of the Lending Standards Board and an ambassador for the Royal Osteoporosis Society and Diabetes UK. He is visiting professor of politics and broadcasting at the University of East Anglia.


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Adam Boulton is a commentator with decades of experience covering the biggest news events in the UK and around the world. He was at Sky News from its launch until 2021 and is a pioneer of live analysis, spending more hours on television covering breaking stories than any other British television reporter. He currently presents Times Radio’s flagship Sunday morning programme as well as stints presenting Drive as well as the Worldview podcast for Englesberg Ideas. He is a weekly columnist for Sky News online and Reaction Life, as well as being a political commentator on the BBC, LBC, i newspaper, Talk TV and numerous international outlets.

He hosted Sky News’ historic televised debate between the three party leaders ahead of the 2010 general election. As Sky News’ political editor, Adam interviewed every British prime minister from David Cameron back to Sir Alec Douglas-Home. His questioning of George W. Bush featured in the film Taking Liberties.

Adam is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines, and has published a number of books on British politics. Adam is a winner of the Royal Television Society’s supreme judges’ award and was elected 2007 chairman of the parliamentary lobby.


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Tim Bale is Professor of Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations. He graduated first from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and then did a Masters degree at Northwestern University in the USA. Following a few years spent working in finance for the NHS (the UK’s National Health Service), he returned to academia to do a PhD at the Department of Politics at Sheffield University.  After Sheffield, he taught politics at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and then at Sussex University back in the UK until 2012.

In 2008 he won the Political Studies Association’s Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching. In 2011 he received the W.J.M. Mackenzie prize for his book The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron, the second edition of which was published in late 2016. Other books he has written or co-written in recent years include The Conservatives since1945: the Drivers of Party Change, Five Year Mission. The Labour Party under Ed Miliband and Footsoldiers: Political Party Membership in the 21st Century. Tim helped write three books published in 2021: The Modern British Party SystemThe British General Election of 2019, and Riding the Populist Wave: Europe’s Mainstream Right in Crisis. In 2023 he published The Conservative Party after Brexit: Turmoil and Transformation.’ Tim’s media work includes writing for UK and overseas newspapers, and he appears fairly often on national and international radio and television to talk about politics. Even more often (for good or ill) he tweets using the handle @ProfTimBale. You can find his non-academic writing collected on his blog – – and his academic writing (mostly journal articles, not all of which are necessarily behind a paywall!) by going to Google Scholar.



Alan Mendoza is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, Britain’s leading think tank fighting for the principles and alliances which keep societies free. He directs strategy for the organisation as well as acting as its main public face in mediums as diverse as the BBC, Sky, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, Bloomberg, LBC and TalkRadio. On the print side, Alan is a columnist for City AM, London’s business newspaper, and has contributed to The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun and a host of international newspapers and magazines.

Having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) and M.Phil in history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Alan completed a Ph.D. at the same institution. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was the Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in the Brent Central Constituency for the 2015 General Election. He is also a Trustee of the President Reagan Memorial Fund Trust.







The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to host a book launch of the book ‘British General Elections Campaigns 1832-2019’, with discussion revolving around its insights into political leadership and election strategies in the UK. During the conversation, speakers explored the evolution of election campaigning, transitioning from traditional door-to-door canvassing to more technology-driven methods, and addressed the complexities of political journalism. They also deliberated on diverse strategies and tactics essential for successful election campaigns, emphasizing clear messaging, targeted demographic outreach, and the importance of refraining from personal attacks. Furthermore, the dialogue touched upon the issue of social media disinformation and its potential repercussions on future elections. Ian Dale examined the 1959 election and the development of targeted campaigning, while Adam Boulton assessed the 2010 election and the impact of televised debates on public engagement. Professor Tim Bale analysed the 2019 campaign, providing valuable insights for party leaders seeking to improve their election strategies.



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1 May
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, England, SW1P 4QP
21-24 Millbank
Westminster, SW1P 4QP United Kingdom
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Iain Dale, Adam Bolton, Professor Tim Bale


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