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Posts Tagged ‘Alastair Campbell’

VAL Årets val i Storbritannien ser ut leda fram till ännu en regeringskoalition. Frågan är bara om Conservative Party eller Labour blir störst.

Hung Togetherby Adam Boulton och Joey Jones

Så medan valrörelsen rullar in på slutfasen kan det vara intressant gå tillbaka till 2010 när David Camerons fick bilda regering med Nick Cleggs Liberal Democrats.

Med Hung Together: The Cameron-Clegg Coalition har Adam Boulton och Joey Jones skrivet en intressant bok om valkampanjen 2010, regeringsförhandlingarna som följde och Camerons första tid som premiärminister.

En av de mer underhållande delarna är när Boulton, repporter för Sky News, hamnar i en verbal strid med Alastair Campbell.

Campbell hade tidigare varit Tony Blairs director of communication men i valet 2010 hade han ingen officiell position i Labour.

Campbell var känd för sin aggressiva stil gentemot journalister och politiska motståndare. Han hade blivit sinnebilden av en spin doctor.

Ordduellen blev populär på nätet och kan ses på YouTube.

Daily Mail publicerade ett aningen redigerat utdrag från boken.

The best that can be said of the on-air row between Alastair Campbell and me is that it added greatly to the gaiety of the nation.

Many viewers have told me it was the highlight of their General Election. A snowballing YouTube hit, it ‘trended’ on Twitter that night, a new expression to me, meaning it was one of the dominant topics of online-chatter in the English-speaking world.

But it was not one of my proudest moments as a broadcaster. I regret losing my temper, although I stand by the comments I made.

[…]

My instinct was to leave the interview to Jeremy Thompson, at that hour the Sky News channel’s main presenter from Westminster, and I withdrew out of camera-shot.

But just before going live, Campbell challenged me to take part with words to the effect of: ‘Come on, let’s have a dust-up.’

Against my better judgment I agreed to join the discussion. Here is an abridged version of our argument:

Boulton: Why not just go quietly, accept that you lost this election?

Campbell: Because I don’t think that would be the right thing to do.

Boulton: The nation needs four more months of Gordon Brown limping on?

Campbell: You’ve been spending the last few years saying Gordon Brown is dead meat.

Boulton: I’ve not been saying that, show me where I said that once.

Campbell: You’re upset that David Cameron’s not Prime Minister.

Boulton: I’m not. Don’t keep casting aspersions on what I think . . .

Campbell: Calm down.

Thompson: Alastair, Alastair . . .

Campbell: Dignity, dignity.

Boulton: Don’t keep telling me what I think.

Campbell: I don’t care what you think. [laughing] Oh my God, unbelievable. Adam, calm down.

Thompson: Gentlemen, gentlemen.

Boulton: I actually care about this country.

Campbell: You’re as pompous as it gets.

Readers must draw their own conclusions about both of us. My view was that the tide finally going out on Campbell’s influence-peddling exposed him for what he had always been.

He had not expected to be challenged on his tendentious assertions but once he was, he resorted to bullying, baiting, impugning his inconvenient challenger. It may possibly have worked for him during the Kelly affair and the Iraq War, but it didn’t, as history repeated itself as farce, with the attempted ‘Coalition of the Losers’.

Experience told me to walk away and get on with the job of reporting the major political story. I decided not to blog, let alone Twitter, on the matter.

The ‘Boulton v Campbell’ encounter quickly gathered a cult following. Every day since, I have had strangers coming up to me to express their support.

In Haymarket a bus driver jammed on the brakes to give me a double thumbs-up; I’ve had congratulations from policemen to Labour peers and Alastair Campbell has naturally claimed that he has made me famous.

[…]

But even though Campbell instantly claimed to have won the encounter, he and his cronies set about trying to dominate the post-match analysis and to do me as much damage as they possibly could.

That night Campbell contacted the most senior people at Sky News he could find in his BlackBerry to demand action against me.

John Prescott, who seems never to have forgiven me or Sky for breaking the story that he had punched a member of the public in 2001, pointed his 22,000 Twitter followers in the right direction.

He tweeted: ‘Inundated by people wanting link to report Adam Boulton, happy to help.’ Then he gave the address of Ofcom.

Campbell also continued to try to settle scores on Twitter: ‘When JP punched someone, pompous Boulton said he must go!

Wonder if same rules for TV hacks losing it live. Thought the headbutt imminent . . . Really worried about Adam Boulton . . .Wonder if he might need some of my pills. Anji ought to come home from her foreign trip.’

He variously referred to my ‘on-air meltdown’, how I ‘lost it live’, and my ‘live toys-out-of-the-pram tantrum’.

But he couldn’t quite work out who was threatening whom during the publicity interviews for the latest volume of his diaries.

He told The Guardian: ‘There’s one point where I start to move back a little bit. I was thinking, “What do you do if someone headbutts you live on TV?” ’

But, according to PR Week, he also boasted at an awards ceremony: ‘If I hadn’t thought about my mum watching at home, I’d have head-butted him.’

However, along with the banter, Campbell made a more private and insidious attempt to throw his weight around.

The man who had impugned both my and the channel’s professional integrity sent a letter by email that same week to John Ryley, head of Sky News, threatening to sue unless disciplinary action was taken against me.

A copy of Campbell’s email was supplied to me for my information. I reproduce quotations from it here without the permission of John Ryley or indeed Sky News. But I take this step in the firm belief that reading it reveals a lot about the man and his modus operandi.

Following the initial pleasantries, Campbell writes that he has spoken that morning to lawyers: ‘Their advice is that I have every right to complain to Ofcom, and have set out the grounds on which such a complaint ought to be accepted.

However, I see from the media that many others have done this already. So, other than giving publicity to an interview that needs no more, I see little point in doing this. Ofcom will doubtless look at it and make up their own minds.’

Campbell also states he had been advised that what I had said during the interview and afterwards was defamatory: ‘Lawyers draw attention in particular to his questioning of my motivations in seeking to discharge the duty I had been asked by the Prime Minister to fulfill, namely advising him in conjunction with the official government machine on how to navigate a complex constitutional position.

Bild: Hung Together: The Cameron-Clegg Coalition av Adam Boulton & Joey Jones

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POLITIK | Alastair Campbell, Tony Blairs gamla kommunikationsrådgivare och spin doctor, har inte försvunnit från den politiska arenan.

Total Politics November 2013

Campbell var en hjärnorna bakom den numera legendariska valrörelse som 1997 förde Blair och New Labour till 10 Downing Street.

Enligt en intervju med Sam Macrory i Total Politics har han även planer på att hjälpa Ed Milibands Labour inför valet 2015.

Men Campbell har inte legat på latsidan sedan 1997. Erfarenheterna från valrörelsen kom väl till användning när Campbell hjälpte Edi Rama och hans albanska socialistiska parti till makten förra året.

Campbell helped Rama win this summer’s Albanian general election with what he proudly declares was a “New Labour landslide”. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given what Campbell had brought with him from London. “It was the ‘97 playbook – everything. All the systems, pledge cards, messaging, changing the look, changing the name, everything. Obviously the world has moved on – social media, and all that stuff – but in terms of basic messaging, organisation, strategy, media monitoring, rebuttal, events and visits, we did the really basic stuff, and they were brilliant at it.”

So brilliant, in fact, that Campbell has returned from Albania with a new idea for Ed Miliband: film as many recordings as you can of your critics, and play them back on giant screens to your audience. “Every voice was negative, and he’s framed his speech around it. It was really powerful,” says Campbell of Rama’s experiment, one which echoes the ‘masochism strategy’ that Blair deployed in the run-up to the Iraq War and the 2005 election. Campbell is convinced it would work for the current Labour leader.

“I’ve tried this on Ed, and I think it would work with his style. It’s not a case of persuading him, I’ve just said, ‘By the way, we did this and it was really powerful, it really worked’. It’s just out there as an idea, and I think Ed would do that well.”

Enthused by the idea, Campbell sets the scene: “For somebody to come up there and say, ‘You’re a geek, you haven’t got charisma’, somebody to come on and say, ‘Yeah, you speak quite well but you’re not Tony Blair, you’re no Barack Obama’, he can then say, ‘No, I’m not Blair, I’m me; this is what I am. OK, I might not be as charismatic as Barack Obama, but here’s what I’m going to do with energy, here’s what I’m going to do with this… ”

Tidskriftsomslag: Total Politics, November 2013.

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VAL 2014 I Storbritannien blev den stora segraren i både lokalvalen och EU-valet Nigel Farage och United Kingdom Independence Party.

Total Politics Issue 64 December 2014

Efter framgången i Europaparlamentsvalet tar UKIP sikte på att slå igenom även i parlamentsvalet i Storbritannien.

När Sam Macrory och John Ashmore intervjuade Farage i Total Politics i december diskuterade man bl.a. partiets planer inför 2015.

Farage tänker kopiera den valstrategi som gjorde liberalerna framgångsrika under Paddy Ashdowns tid som partiledare för Liberal Democrats.

Instead of flirting with unhappy Tories, Farage says that his priority is “trying to build this brand that we’ve established” – and he has a blueprint in mind: the Paddy Ashdown-era Liberal Democrats.

How Ashdown won Tory-held Yeovil, he says, “is a template for what you have to do” – not that Ashdown has said anything complimentary in return. “So? Couldn’t give a damn. Haven’t seen what he said. I’m not even interested.” Farage shrugs. “They faced everywhere: ‘It’s a wasted vote, we like them, we agree with them, but it’s a wasted vote.’ And they managed to do it from the bottom up. It’s an approach that served Ashdown phenomenally well, and it’s a model for UKIP to pursue. I still think the key to 2015 is what we have built up locally on the ground in terms of local council representation.”

[…]

He admits that the party’s 2010 manifesto was a “Horlicks… no one knew what was in it or wasn’t”, but insists that UKIP has learned from previous mistakes in its presentation of “some sensible, pragmatic solutions to some important questions.”

UKIP has a research team, happily lifts from think tank reports – “what on Earth is wrong with us using some of that?” – and a part of its growing professionalism has seen it enlist the services of pollsters, although Farage does not appear to want to rely too heavily on their expertise.

[…]

“We have to win,” Farage admits, when asked to look ahead to 2015 and beyond. “These raised expectations are everywhere, half my fault. Three years ago, when I came back as leader of UKIP for the second time, I said my goal was for us to win the European elections and to put ourselves into a position where we could, if things went right, hold the balance of power at the next general election. That was my sort of four-, five-year plan and everybody thought it was very funny that I should even contemplate the fact that we could win the European elections. Now they’re all saying they think we will.”

But what happens if Britain votes to leave the EU in 2017? Or, before then, if UKIP fails to return an MP? Farage hints that either scenario might spell the end: “What happens in the next two years will, to a large extent, determine the European question and UKIP’s future, so I sort of agree with the tone of your question,” he replies, “but, you know, don’t really expect me to think beyond 2015. It’s quite difficult to know.”

Läs mer: Alastair Campbells intervju med partiledaren för UK Independence Party i GQ. Tidskriftsomslaget: Total Politics, nr 46, December 2013.

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LEDARSKAP: Kampen om vem som skall bli Labours nästa partiledare är i full gång.

Men Peter Mandelsons politiska memoarer The Third Man fortsätter att ställa till det för Labour.

Patrick Wintour som är ”political editor” i The Guardian skriver i The Spectator:

”Most vendettas, at least in Sicilian legend, are accompanied by omertà, a belief that it is shameful to betray your worst enemies even if it would benefit your cause. New Labour has long felt at ease with the vendetta, but has struggled with the concept of omertà. The Mandelson memoirs, the Blair memoirs, the [Alastair] Campbell diaries, the [Robin] Cook diaries, the [David] Blunkett diaries, the Deborah Mattinson assessment, the [Andrew] Rawnsley confessionals, the New Labour literature and score-settling would make even the most capacious Kindle fuse at their sheer volume. […]

The book is published at a critical time for Labour, when the party is in the middle of a leadership contest that appears to be going nowhere. For years, Labour figures have been calling for a healthy discussion about the party’s values, policy, organisation and direction. […]

Many inside Labour have been dismayed at the quality of the leadership debate. As one party adviser put it to me: ‘We have waited all these years, and it has turned into a contest to see who can get onto Twitter first to denounce the government. They don’t sit there thinking, they sit there texting.’ The rest of the time, the candidates haul themselves around the country in a hustings format designed to minimise clarity and maximise entertainment. Like some repertory theatre company locked in a bad production, they can recite each other’s indifferent lines in their sleep, acutely aware they are not heading for the West End.”

Och Trevor Kavanagh, kolumnist i The Sun fyller på i The Spectator.

So why didn’t the Labour party take the course pursued with devastating efficiency last month by the Australian Labor party and put their leader out of his misery? Why did it not save the country from Brown? Mandelson’s memoirs make clear that the country was the last thing on ministers’ minds. Their mission was all about self-preservation, keeping Labour in power, stopping the Tories at any cost — even the cost of economic stability. Mandelson even quotes Blair to this effect. ‘It’s not about loyalty to one man. It’s about loyalty to the party. It’s about saving the party.’ No mention of the national interest here.

David Miliband, described correctly by Blair as ‘not perfect’, denies it was lack of courage that stopped him challenging Brown two years ago. He tells Mandelson he held back because a change of leadership would have forced Labour into an early election. Consider the rationale. Having chucked out one Prime Minister, the last thing Labour’s high command wanted was for voters to have a say on his unelected successor. […]

Today, with a real leadership campaign to fight, Mr Miliband confesses: ‘We talked about “we” but it meant us, not them.” He was not alone. Time after time, Mandy makes clear he and the rest of the anti-Brown faction were interested solely in their political futures, not the fate of Britain. This government was cursed with the certainty of entitlement.

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MINNEN: Två viktiga böcker har hamnat på de engelska bokdiskarna i år.

Både Alastair Campbell och Peter Mandelson har nu gett ut sina minnen från det innersta av New Labour och 10 Downing Street.

Campbell och Mandelson tillhörde den absolut innersta kretsen kring Tony Blair. Båda var på gott och ont med och formade New Labour och bilden av partiet under den tiden.

Peter Mandelson var en av arkitekterna bakom New Labour och The Third Man är hans efterlängtade – och fruktade -memoarer. 

Peter Mandelson is one of the most influential politicians of modern times. The Third Man is his story – of a life played out in the backroom and then on the frontline of the Labour Party during its unprecedented three terms in government.

Much of the book is devoted to the defining political relationships of Peter Mandelson’s life – with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Charting what he terms the ‘soap-opera’ years of the Labour government […]

Alastair Campbell har tidigare get ut The Blair Years som är en 800 sidigt utdrag från hans dagböcker. Prelude to Power är den första av fyra volymer i det som kommer att bli den fullständiga utgåvan av hans dagboksanteckningar.

Från det att Tony Blair blev ledare för Labour Party arbetade Campbell för honom som bl.a. “press secretary”, “official spokesman” och “director of communications and strategy” mellan åren 1994 to 2003. Därefter fortsatt han att vara en mer informell rådgivare till både Blair och premiärminister Gordon Brown.

För alla som är intresserade av intriger, spin och politisk kommunikation är detta två ”måsten”. Böckerna kommer definitivt att bli bland de viktigaste när bilden av New Labour och relationen mellan Blair och Brown skall formas.

Om sedan allt är sant lär historiker och rivaler säkerligen träta om framöver. 

Läs även: Bagehot i The Economist. Utdrag från Mandelsons memoarer har publicerats av The Times. På grund av tidningens ”pay wall” är dessa bara tillgängliga för prenumeranter.

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labour-war-roomLONDON: Återigen spekuleras det kring premiärminister Gordon Browns planer för val. Oavsett om det blir redan i vår eller – vilket är mest troligt – först 2010 så gör sig alla partierna redan nu redo för valkamp.

Labour har bl.a. lanserat en ny webbsida – Labourlist.org – för sina anhängare. Det var här som Lord Mandelson – Tony Blairs tidigare spin doktor, numera ”Business Secretary” – förklarade att Labours tidigare ”command and control” strategi för att tysta intern kritik nu är över. Istället gäller ”embrace and engage”. 

Webbsidan skall enligt The Independent;

It aims to drag Labour’s communications into the ”Obama era” after the incoming US President used the internet to expand his base of supporters and raise millions in campaign funds from small donors.

En annan spin doktor som Gordon Brown påstås vilja få in för att kunna toppa sitt team inför nästa valkampanj är Alastair Campbell. Även Campbell – tidigare ”Director of Communication and Strategy” – tillhörde järngänget kring Tony Blair och symboliserad New Labours manipulativa hantering av media; 

Gordon Brow is battling to give Alastair Campbell a peerage to complete a line-up of New Labour big-hitters in time for election campaign.But the former spin doctor to Tony Blair is understood not to be interested in a seat in the House of Lords, despite ”intensive courtship” by the Prime Minister since October, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. 

Samtidigt ägnar sig Torypartiet åt sina egna kampanjplaner;

At the same time, David Cameron readied his party for an early election with a letter to all candidates putting them on a war footing. The Tories are also planning direct mailshots to target seats and a nationwide advertising campaign, while the leader will carry out a major shadow cabinet reshuffle – likely to be the final line-up for polling day – within a fortnight.
 

Bland annat vill partiets senaste affischkampanj sätta fokus på ”the human consequences of Labour’s Debt Crisis”.

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NEW LABOUR: I utdrag från den kommande boken ”Tony´s Ten Years: Memories of the Blair Administration” skriver Sky News politiska redaktör – Adam Boulton – om hur Alastair Campbell (Blairs ”director of strategy and communications”) använde oärlighet och manipulering som en medveten strategi för att kontrollera medieutfallet.

Engelska The Guardian har ett par längre redigerade utdrag från Boultons bok som kommer att publiceras den 6 oktober.

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