'It's the wrong way to campaign', says David Cameron's former strategy director about Tory approach

'I think it's the wrong way to campaign', claims Steve Hilton on Zac Goldsmith's campaign

Steve Hilton: not a fan of Zac Goldsmith's campaign

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

David Cameron’s former director of strategy believes Zac Goldsmith's recent campaign to be London mayor was badly handled and could end up alienating voters from the political process. 

Steve Hilton, who left Downing Street in 2012 to move to the United States, has released a book called More Human, focusing on why people are frustrated with the government and politics in general.

He told Sam Delaney that the way Goldsmith went about his campaign was poorly conceived.

Goldsmith was accused of using 'dog whistle' tactics, with observers suggesting he was trying to gain votes by playing on people's prejudices rather than presenting coherent policies. 

The Conservative candidate lost out to Labour's Sadiq Khan after an often ill-tempered campaign.

"I just don't agree with it at all, it's the wrong way to campaign," Hilton said. 

"I don't believe in it. I think you should try and actually get people excited about the positive things you're going to do for them, to help solve their problems and to build a better society, rather than being negative the whole time.

"The thing that amazed me most was that of all people it was Zac Goldsmith, who's actually a pretty modern, interesting, thoughtful, liberal kind of conservative, who ends up being the person who brings back the 'nasty party'."

Hilton believes that the problems with Goldsmith's bid are reflected in the current EU referendum campaign.

"What you're seeing in this referendum campaign just turns people off," he said. "For the health of our democracy we need people to think politics is a good thing, we need good people to want to go in to it. 

"Otherwise it just gets taken over by a bunch of insiders who are professional politicians."