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Alastair Campbell: How to Win in Politics

The name Alastair Campbell has been synonymous with political strategy and communications for decades. Former Press Director for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Campbell has a wealth of experience in both the ups and downs of political life. But what does it really take to win in politics? According to him, it's not just about wanting to win but winning to effect meaningful change.

A Culture of Winning

Campbell emphasizes the need for a "winning culture" within any political party. "You need leadership, teamship, and strategy," he says. These three pillars serve as the foundational elements for any successful campaign or political movement. Whether you're running for local office or spearheading a national campaign, the absence of any of these elements could spell disaster.

But it's not just about having these three elements. Campbell underscores the need for "absolute relentlessness." "What do we do today to help ourselves win?" is the kind of question he suggests teams should be asking themselves daily.

The Mindset for Success

The psychology of winning is a theme Campbell often discusses. He raises an interesting point: what motivates you more? The love of winning or the fear of losing? Campbell himself is motivated by the latter, saying, "I am very much an 'I hate losing' person." Studies have shown that fear of negative outcomes often serves as a stronger motivator than the promise of positive outcomes.

Balancing Optimism and Pessimism

One of the striking aspects of Campbell's collaboration with Tony Blair was the balance between their personalities. Blair's optimism perfectly complemented Campbell's more pessimistic view. "He's the guy going out front and just saying, 'hey it's all good,'" Campbell reflects. This balance, according to him, is crucial in sustaining a successful campaign.


Winning in politics is far more complex than it appears. According to Campbell, it requires a blend of leadership, teamwork, strategy, and psychological preparedness. It's not enough to aim for victory; one must aim for impactful and sustainable change. Aspiring politicians and campaign managers would do well to heed his advice: foster a culture of winning but always strive to win for the right reasons.

If you're keen to delve deeper into Campbell's insights, check out our YouTube interview with him.


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