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Brought to book

Apologies, I've been in Ireland, hence the lack of posts over the past week.

In the little spare time I had I became hooked on Tim Shipman's hugely enjoyable All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class.

I know (not very well) several of the leading protagonists, which made it all the more interesting and enjoyable.

I don't think the book changed my opinion about anything or anyone. It did however confirm my thoughts about politicians and their enormous, often counter-productive egos.

More important, I picked up a lot about political campaigning which might strike some people as odd considering I've been a campaigner myself for the best part of 20 years but you never stop learning.

I won't say what those lessons were (no point alerting the enemy!) but there's no secret about the following:

"You win campaigns like this through message discipline and consistency."

Political campaigns are not democracies ... Campaigns are best operated as dictatorships.

Ultimately what I took from the book was this, and it's not rocket science.

You can be the greatest strategist or tactician in the world but the magic ingredients for a successful political campaign are hard work, conviction and a generous helping of luck.

The Leave campaigns (because there were more than one) had all three.

Thankfully it all worked out but it was a very close call.

PS. I couldn't help noting the following passages. The first won't surprise anyone, the references to David and Samantha Cameron might:

Before he went on stage [before the ITV debate] Farage slipped out for a cigarette ...

An hour later [after the ITV debate] he [Cameron] was on the terrace of the House of Commons having a pint and drawing reflectively on a cigarette ...

The tension had been so great during the campaign that, one friend said, 'the stress drove her [Samantha] to cigarettes'.

Fancy that!

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