'Why politics really matters' Alastair Campbell is inspiring young people to take a stand

His new politics book aimed at 6 - 9 year old is out today

Alastair Campbell featured alongside book covers of his two politics books aimed at children
(Image credit: Future)

Former spokesman for the Prime minister, Alistair Campbell reveals all about life in politics. And, as his new children's book is released, he explains why it's important for young people to be involved.

Alastair Campbell spent a long time working for Tony Blair, the former Labour Party leader who was UK Prime Minister between 1997 and 2007. He was the Prime Minister’s spokesman and strategist. That means he spoke to the media (newspapers, TV and radio) and made sure that everything the Government did fitted with the overall plans for the Labour Party. Campbell tells The Week Junior that, at times, he saw himself as a “combination between a football coach and an air traffic controller (the people who direct planes safely through the skies)”.

He says that another of his roles – and one of the most important – was far more simple: to be there for the Prime Minister as a friend. The two remain in contact with each other (Campbell actually sent Blair a message shortly before our interview).

Voting is now taking place for the general election. When he was working under Blair, Campbell would have spent this period organising and running campaigns for Labour. Elections are very busy times. “It gets very, very tiring and very, very stressful,” he says.

These days, Campbell is still busy. He splits his time between giving talks in schools, recording a twice weekly podcast The Rest is Politics, and providing advice to businesses and organisations. He has written lots of books, and his two most recent are for children and young people.

Today, his new book Why Politics Matters (Amazon, £9), has been released- aimed at children agred 6 to 9 years old. It explains the different parts of politics in simple terms, including how the Government and Parliament work, as well as how children can get involved. His book, Alastair Campbell Talks Politics (Amazon, £7.99) aimed at older children and teenagers was published on 20 June.

Campbell thinks getting young people interested and involved is extremely important. “Politics is part of virtually everything that we do,” he says. “If you really care about stuff, if you care about poverty, if you care about the climate, if you care about the fact that some schools are better than others and you think all schools should be good, the only way to change that is through political campaigning.”

Quickfire questions

What did you like most about politics?
Being part of a really good team.

What did you dislike the most?
The fact that I could never really have a day off.

What do you miss the most?
Being right at the heart of change.

Can you tell us something exciting that people might not know about 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister’s home)?
People talk about Prime Ministers “getting the keys to Number 10”. There are no keys to the front door. The door is manned 24 hours a day and the people at the door let the Prime Minister in.

Can you remember any embarrassing or silly moments from your time in politics?
In Holland, Tony Blair asked a woman what her name was, and she said, ‘My name is Beatrix. I'm the Queen’. He hadn’t realised the Queen was in the room.

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This feature was originally published in June 2024 in The Week Junior, which is also owned by Future Publishing.

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