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
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.