OPINION: EDITORIAL - Campbell shoes are difficult to fill

Reflecting on the contribution of Alastair Campbell to Labour and

the Government, it would be churlish to deny what is apparent from even

a cursory glance at the daily press: he has perfected the art of media

manipulation.



The creation of a Downing Street communications director role is overdue

and Campbell is an appropriate candidate to fill it. Not that reporters

should doubt that Campbell will still be on the phone, off the record,

sharing occasional glimpses of prime ministerial thinking.



Names mooted so far as possible successors - Phil Bassett from the

strategic communications unit, former BBC political research head Bill

Bush, even Labour press officer Jim Godfrey - are plausible players, but

none would fill Campbell's shoes. There are some private sector PROs who

might - industry veteran David Hill, say - but there is no evidence such

a move is likely, despite an external hire being just what a PR

operation needs to maintain a sense of permanent revolution.



Labour's domination of political communications is laid bare this week

with research from SWR Worldwide showing that even a normally sceptical

audience of business figures openly admires the party's communication on

policy issues. As the vacuum created by the general election's

postponement is filled over the coming weeks, all signs suggest Labour

stands on the verge of another massive win, something in which Campbell

has played no small role.



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