Ten hard rules on how to win an election.
Journalist and biographer Christine Wallace's How to Win an Election can be read two ways. Firstly, as an autopsy of Labor's shock 2019 defeat, and secondly as a witty yet Machiavellian explainer of how to win at contemporary politics. While the book's tone is often playful and tongue-in-cheek, its aim is deadly serious.
The book is divided into 10 key rules for success. Among other things: develop sensible policies that have a chance of getting up, use polling judiciously (the chapter on polling should be mandatory reading), work productively where possible with oppositions, engage positively with journalists, and make good cut through ads (including social media). Another important rule: a leader must be a good performer who connects emotionally with people. While an important requisite of leaders is that they have profound self-belief, this can block clear thinking. Bruised egos can cause leaders to shut down and surround themselves with uncritical supporters. A delicate balance between self-belief and self-restraint is required.
he bottom line? Labor lost due to a wooden leader whose strategists failed to read the polling properly. Worst of all, Labor tried to win government with a suite of ambitious policies while in opposition - history shows that serious reform is best done whilst in government. How to Win an Election is essential reading for politicians and their staffers; it will also greatly appeal to voters of all ages and persuasions.
How to Win an Election, by Chris Wallace. Published by New South Books.
Review by Chris Saliba
This review first published at Books + Publishing. Click here.
North Melbourne Books