As the 2015 election campaign draws to a close, the King of New Labour spin was in town.
Alastair Campbell, former journalist,Tony Blair’s communications manager and more recently strategic Director of the victorious Albanian Socialist Party was celebrating fifty years of the Manchester Business School and their vital topics series of events.
Campbell was promoting his latest book Winners and how they succeed which examines if there are common themes surrounding the winners in sport, business and politics.
He interviewed amongst others two very recent successes Floyd Mayweather and José Mourinho.
The common theme, he felt, was that they worked harder than the competition.
The Chelsea manager told him that when he turns up to work he wants his team to think that there is nobody else that could do his job.
So is Ed Miliband a winner? Campbell refused to be drawn but was surprised that he was called weak.
He has steel, he is calm, and is resilient and his greatest battle was becoming leader of his party, something that must have taken great courage as he took on his brother
Knowing the difference between wanting to win and the will to win is what the Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram told him
Politics is the hardest, he attested, hinting that across the world few people at its top level have the will to win oozing out of them.
In his book he writes of why Cameron didn’t win the 2010 election even though all the factors were in place for him to have walked it.
Why? Well Campbell says he consistently confused strategy and tactics.The big society, compassionate conservatism, the photographs in the Arctic of the husky dogs ,none were converted to ideas. The big society committee never met and what ever happened to the greenest government ever.
Ricahrd Branson gets a lot of coverage in the book, his company was going to be called slipped disc records until a young women he can’t remember the name of,suggested the Virgin brand, so luck also plays a part.
Tony Blair, he reminisces, was never complacent in anything recalling that as they watched the first results coming in 1997 when it became apparent that Labour was on for a landslide, Blair was ringing found telling people to calm down.
Winners are not always happy,some of the people in the book are what he describes as being mentally ill, something that he has campaigned for, yet the illness gave then the drive to reach their goals.
His favourite interview though was the Australian surfer Layne Beachley, seven times world champion, born out of rape, adopted, bullied at school who wrote in her journal that she was going to be a world champion in something she didn’t know what but the drive got her through her difficulties.
Two winners in the book don’t make the numerous named of the cover.
Lance Armstrong is in the chapter called extreme mindset when your desire to win becomes dangerous to yourself and others, “losing and dying is the same thing” he told Campbell.
Vladimir Putin, whom Tony Blair thought was a great man, is surrounded by people who will never challenge his actions, power becomes dangerous.
But back to the election and Campbell is adamant that the triangle between media, politics and the public needs to change.
On the campaign trail he mocks the cries from the public that all politicians are the same and that whoever gets in nothing changes.
Rubbish, he says, the last twenty years have seen enormous changes, you may not like it but the county is so different.
He finds it strange that the campaign has seen no debate at all about foreign policy and little about Europe even though one party is committed to an in out referendum.
As for the perceived negativity, he counters that people like to see arguments tested. The Tories made a big mistake thinking that the economy and Miliband’s perceived weakness would be enough ammunition, and now finding that it wasn’t, using the SNP as a battering ram will go down in history as the wrong move.
The chill of enquiry and do you regret your unexpected turning up on channel four need and the interview with Jon Snow in 2003