Alastair Campbell is a communicator, writer and strategist, best known for his role as Director of Communications and Strategy for former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Working alongside the Prime Minister between 1997 and 2003, Alastair applied his considerable skills as a journalist to make sure that Tony Blair was able to present memorable and highly effective speeches even when the press reception was sometimes hostile.
As a result of his core role at Downing Street, Alastair often found himself mentioned in Fleet Street! Though he was labelled a "spin doctor" by the newspapers - a term usually applied in a pejorative sense - no one could deny that Alistair Campbell was one of the most effective communicators to have ever worked behind the scenes at Number 10, and he was respected by MPs from across the political spectrum.
Alastair Campbell’s career in journalism began in 1982 when he became a political correspondent for the Daily Mirror, moving to the newly established Today newspaper in 1986. He began his long standing working relationship with Tony Blair in 1994, when Blair was appointed leader of the Labour Party. Three years later he became Prime Minister, following a skilful and carefully planned campaign that paid much attention to communications and liaising with the press.
Throughout his time in Downing Street, Alastair Campbell kept a diary that reportedly totalled some two million words. Selected extracts, titled The Blair Years, were published in 2007. In October 2008, Alastair broadcast the personal story of his struggle against depression in a television documentary, partly to try and reduce the stigma of the illness; he has also written a novel on the subject, entitled All in the Mind. Other television shows on which he has appeared include: Question Time, Panorama, Accused, Have I Got News For You and Top Gear (in which he scored second fastest in the lap test!)
Alastair is still getting the message across as a public speaker at charity fundraisers, corporate and award presentations, as well as private functions. At such events, Alastair's skills as a communicator are still well to the fore, but these days he takes a more reflective, convivial approach than was needed at Number 10, with well-timed humour and a wry take on life and politics....in fact, if there is any spinning to be done these days, it is only to weave a well crafted and thought provoking speech.
As one of the most influential government advisers, credited as one of the four people who founded New Labour, Alastair’s experience and expertise in public speaking make him the ideal candidate in every respect!
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Alastair was superb. He linked his speech with our 25 year theme and was thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking. I think all those who attended appreciated how personable he was and that they had an opportunity to ask questions of him. It was great that we even got mentioned in one of his tweets! The speakers keep getting better year on year so we will definitely have something to live up to next year.
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- ITVs Political Editor and host of Peston on Sunday
- Journalist and academic former economic columnist at The Guardian and senior editor at The Economist.
- Practised, entertaining and witty speaker, she lifts the veil on the discreet yet not-so-discreet World of Westminster and enthuses hilariously about ‘Great British Battleaxes’.