Posts Tagged ‘chief of staff’

The twelve rules of opposition: day four

28/12/2011, 11:33:08 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Rule 4: Recruit the right support team

Voters pick leaders as much as parties or policies. And what turns an opposition leader into a prime-minister-in-waiting is no accident.

This process has been completed seven times since the war. Although the politics of the moment have varied, and the individual matters enormously, there are still some common features to each successful transformation.

First, recruiting the right support team. Second, demonstrating leadership in the party. And third, showcasing the biography so voters understand their future leader.

Ensuring these three elements are in place will not overturn natural disadvantages if the leader isn’t up to the job, but they will help maximise the chances of success.

So much of the focus in defining a leader is on the individual, it’s easy to overlook the importance of their back office team.

So easy that opposition leaders themselves frequently miss it. (more…)

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A closer look at Ed’s new chief of staff

23/12/2011, 12:30:46 PM

by Atul Hatwal

One of the longest running vacancies in politics was finally filled earlier this week. Over a year after he became leader, Ed Miliband has appointed a chief of staff: Tim Livesey.

The role of chief of staff is an essential part of the leader’s office. Part project manager, part adviser, wholly accountable for the smooth running of the leader’s world, whatever is going on, particularly if it’s going wrong, the buck stops with the chief of staff.

The billing for Tim Livesey is that he is a heavyweight appointment. He’s the man who will bring experience and assurance to the running of the team.

Following a difficult year with problems ranging from avoidable flurries such as the recent confusion around the departure of Ayesha Hazarika from PMQ preparation duties, to major misjudgements like that conference speech, a firmer hand on the tiller will clearly help.

Tim Livesey’s background seems to fit the bill. A high flying career in the foreign office, media experience as assistant press secretary to Tony Blair and the best part of a decade in the service of the Archbishop of Canterbury, principally running his PR operation, mean he has the type of broad experience required.

Using Livesey’s record to divine (so to speak) the type of advice he will give to the Labour leader, three incidents stand out.

First, his comments in a seminar about how politicians should present themselves in the media; second, the row over the church of England’s ham-fisted intervention on gay adoption; and third, his role in Rowan Williams’ controversial sharia law speech.

Just before Tony Blair left office, in one of his final speeches, he discussed the adverse impact of the media on public life. In a subsequent seminar, Tim Livesey was on the panel discussing this view.

(more…)

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