Beer Duty / Pubs / 28 August 2013

The politics of beer communications

The appointment of former Deputy Political Editor of the Sun, Graeme Wilson (no relation), to the post of Press Secretary in Number Ten is but the latest in a series of moves to bolster communications efforts as the PM gears up for the bruising General Election campaign that will lead up to May 2015.

Having a spin doctor who speaks the language of the street and can help to define policy in tabloid terms must be good for the Government. I would argue that it is also good news for beer and pubs.

For some time we have sought to position support for beer and pubs as a significant barometer of how in-touch our politicians are with their increasingly cynical voting public. The voice of the man or woman down the pub is the voice of the majority of Britons and must be listened to.
It is no surprise to us then that the most populist of the current breed of Party Leaders, UKIP’s Nigel Farage, is often pictured with a beer in his hand in a pub. Nor that David Cameron sanctioned a photograph of himself clutching a pint of Tribute to be released during his recent Cornish sojourn. The Conservatives in particular have moved some way to demonstrate their support for our industry and MPs are now clambering for pictures with beer, in a pub or visiting a brewery in their patch.

Support from the Sun was crucial to our beer duty campaign success. Our distinctly positive tone, argued for by our Chairman Jonathan Neame and supported by the BBPA Board, fitted well with the ‘sunny-side up’ approach of the most popular red top tabloid. We framed our arguments in straightforward language that would resonate with Sun readers. With the Sun on board we worked hard to feed the machine with story ideas to maintain the momentum as Budget Day neared.

Aussie communications guru Lynton Crosby has given an edge to the Government’s communications and taught them to focus on the bread and butter issues that most concern the public. The price of your pint and a safe future for your local are among a range of quality of life issues that the British public care strongly about and the Sun, and now it would seem the Government press team, get it.

Policy will clearly still be driven by what’s best for the British economy but having the Sun in our corner will help us hugely in keeping up the pressure on the Coalition to go further to support British beer and pubs.

Written by

David Wilson

Public Affairs Director

Further Reading