Election years create uncertainty, but also opportunity - Jack Hope

​Organisations need to get the right expert advice so they are ready for whatever polling day may bring, says Jack Hope

A general election is afoot. Yet, there is still much speculation and debate about when it will actually happen.

The general wisdom is that polling day could still be many months away. But since they are still enjoying considerable leads in the polls at the moment, the Labour party is keen to get things going now, painting the Prime Minister as running scared of the electorate.

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Rishi Sunak, on the other hand, is biding his time. He needs to balance the electoral benefit of waiting for the economy to turn, and his party’s fortunes, whilst ensuring that his backbench MPs do not decide that he is no longer up to the job.

Jack Hope is a Public Affairs Consultant at Perceptive CommunicatorsJack Hope is a Public Affairs Consultant at Perceptive Communicators
Jack Hope is a Public Affairs Consultant at Perceptive Communicators

We may not yet know a date, but we do know there is likely to be significant change at the next election if polls are emulated at the ballot box. With the governing parties at both Scotland and UK levels looking like they will struggle, there could be a lot of new MPs and likely a new government.

For organisations this can mean the loss of relationships with decision-makers who have been supportive of their industry for a number of years. But it also provides opportunities to engage with new MPs and ministers with a clean slate. In these situations it is important for businesses to make sure they are getting useful public affairs advice. With the right support, organisations are able to bridge this gap, establishing connections and building relationships with incoming politicians. Whether it's advocating for reforms or boosting your organisation’s reputation with stakeholders, seizing this opportunity can significantly enhance success.

Elections also provide an opportunity to shape the narrative of certain issues, but organisations must engage with them early in this process. Prospective MPs and political parties are often open to fresh ideas and perspectives around election time, especially if they will help make a tangible difference to issues that voters care about.

However, it can be difficult to know how your business’s goals fit into the agenda and priorities of specific political parties and media narratives, so ensuring your public affairs advisers are experts with relevant industry experience is key. They need to have a deep understanding of your sector and have developed strong relationships with the people that matter.

​Rishi Sunak could be bounced into an election at any moment (Picture: Darren Staples/PA Wire)​Rishi Sunak could be bounced into an election at any moment (Picture: Darren Staples/PA Wire)
​Rishi Sunak could be bounced into an election at any moment (Picture: Darren Staples/PA Wire)

Importantly, you need to ensure that all of your dealings with politicians are compliant with the various lobbying rules and regulations that exist at different levels of government in Scotland. These are often difficult to navigate and can often be a tricky process without the necessary experience and insight.

Of course, you must not forget the importance of engaging directly with your incumbent or prospective local MP. Sharing your successes with them is highly beneficial, as they represent your interests in Parliament and are eager to stay informed about local economic developments. Nurturing these relationships and maintaining open lines of communication ensure that they can address any issues that may arise directly with you. MPs often serve as the first port of call for employees and journalists during crises and it is vital you are given a fair hearing. From my own experience of working in offices of politicians, cultivating strong relationships can yield valuable goodwill and support in good times and bad.

The Prime Minister technically holds the power of when the next election will be, but there is a realistic chance that he could be bounced into one at any moment. It is important that your organisation is ready for what the election may bring and is poised to make the most of any opportunities. Ensuring you have the right expert advice ahead of time is key to achieving this.

Jack Hope is a Public Affairs Consultant at Perceptive Communicators.



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