Book review: How to win an election by Paul Richards

Book review for Campaigns & Elections

Dateline: May 2004

Whenever I read a book that I wish I had written, I am tempted to scour it for errors so I can write a sneering review designed to convince my readers of the (to me) obvious fact that I could have done a better job. Paul Richards makes that very hard. His breezy, effervescent, writing style is just too much fun. Pretty soon I had forgotten my search for errors and was just enjoying the ride.

Richards has a background mainly in the study and practice of British politics. He has been a speechwriter for Tony Blair’s ministers, trains Labour activists, was once Press Officer for the Labour Party, and has twice run for Parliament himself. His book reflects his British background, but also draws on parallels from the US, ancient Athens, and the cell phone voting of reality TV shows.

This is the second and extensively updated edition of his book. He is also the author of “Be your own spin doctor” and the editor of the top-selling “Tony Blair: in his own words”. We have not heard the last of him.

If you are already well-versed in British politics and campaign techniques this book will still teach you a lot. If British politics is one of those subjects you have really been meaning to brush up on, this book is essential. It is to political junkies what the latest Harry Potter is to school kids – the book you hope will never end.

Quentin Langley

“How to Win and Election”, second edition, by Paul Richards. Politicos publishing: http://www.methuen.co.uk/politicos/ £12.99

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