Polling station UK

FEATURE4 January 2024

Preview of 2024: Elections in the UK and US

News North America Public Sector UK

With the UK general election due within the next 12 months and an autumn presidential election looming in the US, what do our contributors wish for from the candidates?

Ahead of the next UK or US general election, what would you like to see from the parties/candidates?

Jessica DeVlieger, chief executive, C Space
Both countries are increasingly divided, divisions reflected within our businesses. As a business leader, I have the challenging task of setting aside personal opinions to ensure a fair and inclusive discourse that doesn't alienate anyone.

But what I wish for is universal, I believe. Less conflict, more dialogue. Fewer entrenched opinions, more openness. Less ego, more empathy. The good news is that we do not have to depend solely on politicians to drive this change; we all have the potential to be a bit more human, curious and generous.

Peter Totman, head of qualitative, Jigsaw
Commitment to live by democratic outcomes – both right and left are showing signs of cherry-picking.

Andrew Cooper, founder and chief executive, Verve
A true intent to do the right thing for people and their country, rather than for unashamed self-interest.

Bethan Blakeley, research director, Boxclever
This year has been a ridiculous one in UK politics, and I’m struggling to engage with it at all if I’m honest. I know I’m not alone. It’ll be interesting to see how, and if, parties encourage those like me to sit back up and take notice.

Sabine Stork, founding partner, Thinktank
We’ve arrived at a somewhat dystopian stage where hoping that candidates won’t twist the truth is too much too hope for. I have to say I’m not holding my breath…

Ben Shimshon, chief executive and managing partner, Thinks Insight & Strategy
Our 2023 Mood of the Nation survey tells us that the UK audience are looking for three things from our next government: honesty, competence and a plan.

Amy Cashman, executive managing director of the UK insights division, Kantar
As someone who leads a business here in the UK, my plea would be for consistent policy for business. Parties and politicians can’t always control the impact of external influences on our economy, but having a stable policy environment will be essential for businesses to help drive growth after the shocks of the past few years.

Jane Frost, chief executive, MRS
I’ll keep this brief. Campaigning must be evidence-based and verified. If we’re to protect the health of our democracies, we simply cannot compromise on this.

Sinead Jefferies, senior vice-president, Zappi
Am I allowed to dream? If I could sum it up, it would probably come down to integrity and authenticity. Think really hard about what people need and how the party’s political stance can best serve those needs. Develop policies and messaging to communicate that. Be consistent and don’t change tack every time you see a poll that you don’t like. Focus on how to get your message across better, not knocking down other people. 

Hannah Rogers, business development director, Kokoro
Focus on the ageing population: ‘we’re not living longer, we’re dying slower’. Professional carers need to be given time and wages to allow them to care for people properly. No one should be scared to go into a home: these should be places of community, respect and safety.

There needs to be both more funding and a mindset shift: no matter how good food is, or medical treatment, unless the people giving the care are right, and see it as a viable career option from a young age, we’re never going to drive positive change.

Joe Staton, client strategy director, GfK
Clarity of message. This is crucial in a time of volatility which brings so much uncertainty. Now more than ever, politicians need to balance paradoxes. For instance, people want more investment in the NHS and services like schools, emergency workers, libraries etc – but they don’t want the higher taxes needed to pay for them. In a stagnant economy, a politician who can provide a clear vision to navigate these paradoxes has a real opportunity to succeed.

Nick Baker, global chief research officer, Savanta
How about they actually have a cause, perspective they really believe in. Stop ‘getting elected’ being the goal and make it about a genuine belief or point of view. 

Jane Rudling, managing director, Walnut Unlimited
It would be good to see integrity and vision from politicians across the globe. I’d love to see real action on climate change higher up the agenda.