A new podcast from The Times brings together three of the most experienced political strategists in the UK ahead of the general election expected next year.
Peter Mandelson, Daniel Finkelstein, and Polly Mackenzie will join Times Radio presenter Matt Chorley each week for the How To Win An Election podcast. It will be a part of the election coverage from Times Radio and The Times, across print, digital, video and audio.
Daniel Finkelstein has advised successful (and less successful) Conservative prime ministers and leaders from John Major through to David Cameron, he says: “It’s always been my mission to really understand how politics works.
“I don’t think you can be a proper democrat without understanding how the electorate really thinks and how they react to things.
“And I want to test all the ideas that political science, my own experience and reading other people’s experience brings. And having Peter and Polly in the same studio we’ll be able to test a lot of these ideas, to think about them and to argue about them. And I’ll learn a lot.”
Polly Mackenzie is a policy expert who worked for Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell, before negotiating the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition and spending five years working alongside deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in Downing Street.
Polly said: “I’m excited to pick apart the twists and turns of the looming election with this supremely experienced panel, who’ve seen elections from inside and out, upside and down, and every side of the track.
“I’m hoping Matt will make me laugh, Peter will make me feel youthful, and that Danny and I will persuade everyone that ex think tank directors really are one of the highest forms of human existence.”
Peter Mandelson will draw on his experience as a spin doctor, election supremo, cabinet minister and adviser to Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on how to win elections, and what might stand in their way, he says: “25 years on from New Labour’s triumph in 1997 we all need a bit of re-birthing, myself included.
“The state of the country is completely different and how to win an election has moved on too. 2024 is going to be a year of world-changing elections in the US, Europe and here in Britain.
“There is no better time to put election campaigns under the microscope and ask how Labour is going to end its long run of election losses and whether the Tories still have some fight left in them.”
Matt Chorley added: “After more than three years of delivering politics without the boring bits on the radio, it’s time to crank things up for a huge election year. And I can think of no better team than the brains behind some of the great victories – and defeats – of recent times.
“I’ve spent two decades reporting on their campaigns, now I can help listeners to find out what really happened behind the scenes – and what that tells us about the next race for No10.”
Tim Levell, programme director, Times Radio commented: “This is a huge new audio investment for The Times, demonstrating our ambition for what will be a significant year of news and politics. In uncertain times, we all need to turn to people with experience, wisdom and wit to explain events as they unfold. Danny, Polly and Peter will be a must-listen every week.”
How To Win An Election will be recorded every Tuesday and released on all podcast platforms on Tuesday afternoons from 31 October.