Alastair Campbell
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Alastair Campbell is a writer, communicator and strategist best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Still active in Labour politics, he now splits his time between writing, speaking, consultancy, charitable fundraising, politics and campaigns.

He was born in Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. His family moved to Leicester in 1968, and he went to school there until going to Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated four years later with a degree in modern languages. His university education included a year in France when he had his first "journalism" published, articles on sex in Forum magazine. He also busked around the world with his bagpipes. Finally he decided to become a journalist and trained with the Mirror Group on local papers in the West Country before joining the Mirror itself in 1982. He left in the mid 80s to work for Eddy Shah's Today newspaper as news editor but had a nervous breakdown and left to return to the Mirror after convalescence. He rose to become political editor and the paper's chief political columnist. He then worked briefly for Today under new ownership in 1994 before being asked by Tony Blair to be his press secretary when Mr Blair became leader of the Labour Party. He did this for three years, and played a key role helping to create New Labour and return the Party to power. After the 1997 election he became the Prime Minister's Chief Press Secretary and Official Spokesman, which entailed the co-ordination of Government communications and twice daily briefings of the press. He did this job for Labour's first term but after helping Mr Blair win a second landslide election victory, he became Director of Communications and Strategy. He did this until he resigned in September 2003, saying it had been enormous privilege but he wanted more of a life with his partner Fiona and their three children, now aged 23, 21 and 17.

His main hobbies are running, cycling, bagpipes and following Burnley FC. He took up running nine years ago at the instigation of his sons and he has since run the London Marathon, the Great North Run, and the Great Ethiopian Run, and completed several full triathlons, all for Leukaemia Research Fund, his best friend having been killed by the disease. He is the charity's chairman of fundraising. He returned to the Labour Party for six months prior to the 2005 general election and again to help the Party in the 2010 campaign. He 'played' David Cameron in Gordon Brown's rehearsals for the historic televised leaders' debates. He is one of the party's most in-demand speakers at fundraising and motivational events, and was a founder of the GoFourth campaign aimed at focussing Party activists and the public on the need to understand the real choices facing Britain. Together with former sports minister Richard Caborn, he pulled together two of the most successful fundraising dinners in Labour's history, both on the theme of sport at Wembley stadium.

Passionate about sport, he was written about different sports for The Times, the Irish Times and Esquire magazine. He was communications adviser to the British and Irish Lions rugby tour of New Zealand in 2005. He has raised funds for Burnley FC, a team he has supported since the age of four. His charity projects have involved him playing football with both Diego Maradona and Pele, and appearing in a one off version of the popular TV programme, The Apprentice.

In his time in Downing St he was involved in all the major policy issues and international crises. He has said that in ten years in the media, and a decade in politics, he saw his respect for the media fall and his respect for politics rise. He is a sought after speaker at events around the world, specialising in strategic communications. On July 9 2007, he published his first book on his time with Tony Blair, The Blair Years, extracts from his diaries from 1994 to 2003, which was an instant Sunday Times Number 1 bestseller. He published his first novel, All In The Mind, in November 2008, and his second, Maya, on the theme of fame and friendship, in February 2010. In 2009 he broadcast a one hour documentary on BBC2 about his own breakdown in 1986. Both the film, Cracking Up, and All In The Mind, won considerable praise from mental health charities and campaign groups for helping to break down the taboo surrounding mental health. Together with Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax, he fronted a multi-million pound mental health campaign aimed further at breaking down stigma, Time to Change. He was voted Mind (mental health charity) 'Champion of the Year' for 2009. Cracking Up won the Mind award for best mental health documentary. He is now in the process of publishing the unexpurgated diaries of his time in frontline politics. Volume One of his diaries, Prelude to Power, was published last June. Volume Two, covering the first two years of Labour in power, and called Power and the People, was published in January 2011. Volume 3, Power and Responsibility, covering 1999 to September 11 2001, was published in July 2011.

He is still occasionally involved in journalism, and created a mix of rave reviews, increased sales and left-wing anger when he guest edited an issue of the New Statesman magazine in March 2009. He is one of the most followed bloggers and twitterers in UK politics. His website is http://alastaircampbell.org His twittername is @campbellclaret.

He recently won a Royal Television Society Award for a BBC North West documentary he made, 'Burnley are back', which featured the impact of Burnley FC's promotion to the Premier League on the town. He also appeared as a teacher in Jamie's Dream School, an educational TV experiment in which well-known people tried to reignite an interest in education among young people who had failed at school. Another recent TV achievement was victory in the BBC1 Football Focus Premier League predictions league table, which he won in a play-off with Alan Sugar. He is on the advisory board of the University and College of Football Business, based in Burnley but attached to Buckingham University, which offers Britain's first undergraduate degrees in the business of football.

Entries by Alastair Campbell

Che la morte di Robin Williams possa cambiare il nostro approccio alla depressione

(19) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 11:15 AM

Anche se un'inchiesta potesse fornire alcune risposte alle domande che le persone si stanno facendo oggi, la verità è che nessuno di noi saprà mai, anche se avesse lasciato qualcosa di scritto, cosa aveva in mente Robin Williams nei momenti finali della sua vita ricca ed arricchente. Nessuna...

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May Robin Williams' Tragic End Herald the Start of New Attitudes to Depression

(36) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 10:33 AM

Though an inquest might provide some of the answers to questions people are asking today, the truth is that none of us will ever know, even if he left a note, what was going through Robin Williams' mind in the final moments of his enriched and enriching life.

No two...

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At the Nexus of Media and Politics - Part Two

(3) Comments | Posted November 14, 2013 | 10:38 AM

Below is a transcript of a lecture given by Alastair Campbell today in his role as Humanitas Visiting Professor of Media 2013/14 at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), at Cambridge University, in association with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue

A...

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A Life at the Nexus Of Media and Politics - Part One

(24) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 6:00 PM

Below is a transcript of a lecture given by Alastair Campbell today in his role as Humanitas Visiting Professor of Media 2013/14 at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), at Cambridge University, in association with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Thank you for asking...

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Why the World of PR Is Changing

(23) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 7:00 PM

I'm in Melbourne, Australia - I love this place. I have no Irish or Aussie blood, but once said I felt half Irish and half Aussie. Suppose it means I used to like a drink and I still like a fight. I feel very British but have never felt English...

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How Red Nose Day Is Improving Mental Health Services in Ghana

(43) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 7:00 PM

In 25 years, Comic Relief and its famous Red Nose have helped to raise £600million which has been used to help millions of people both in the UK and Africa. On a trip to Ghana earlier this year I met some of the most recent beneficiaries, as the country struggles...

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Media Portrayal of Depression: We've Still Got a Long Way to Go

(35) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 5:38 AM

India Knight can be a good and interesting columnist so it was a real shame to read her ill-informed, irresponsible and plain wrong views on depression in this weekend's The Sunday Times. I know columnists have to scrabble for attention in a crowded, over competitive market at a time the...

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Cameron Has Taken the Wrong Lessons From Blair and New Labour - They Should Read the Books More Carefully

(60) Comments | Posted June 20, 2012 | 7:00 PM

To the splendidly New Labour King's Place on Monday, and an onstage interview with Steve Richards of the Independent as part of his 'Politics Rock and Roll' series.

Steve, one of the less cynical UK commentators, is doing his bit to try to re-engage the public with politics by putting...

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On the Perils of Diarywriting; Lessons Learned; and The Opportunities of New Media

(15) Comments | Posted July 7, 2011 | 8:58 AM

I sometimes feel like I am living in several different time zones simultaneously, all in the same country, often at the same desk.

There is the here and now, always the most pressing, often the most challenging, especially if you have something of an up and down mental state (certificates...

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Revulsion at Milly Dowler Phone-Hacking Changes the Public and Political Mood on This

(24) Comments | Posted July 6, 2011 | 6:43 AM

Up until now, News International and the government have sought, and to some extent succeeded, in making the phone-hacking story one that is largely about celebrities.

Even for popular celebrities, there is little automatic public sympathy for the idea that a journalist or a private detective might listen in to...

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