Alastair Campbell: housing is a really complicated issue
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government
Housing is a really complicated issue that professionals must work harder to push to the top of the public and political agenda, according to Alastair Campbell.
Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) South East Conference and Exhibition yesterday, Tony Blair's former chief spin doctor told delegates that the sector needs to work together to deliver a simple message that looks to the future rather than focusing on the here and now.
Mr Campbell said: “If you asked a member of the public or a politician to list issues like housing, transport and crime in order of priority I doubt housing would be number one or even two, three or four. I think that’s because it’s a really complicated issue.
"But if you’re in the business of persuasion the more complex the issue the more simple you need to make it.
“Don’t assume knowledge – when you are trying to persuade people your job is to get inside their bubble.
“Make your argument as simple as possible then decide your target audience – the Chancellor in the run-up to the Budget for example.
"Make sure you know what you want but that you build your argument based on their bigger picture, not yours.”
Mr Campbell was among a range of speakers during the first day of the CIH’s event in Brighton, which features more than 100 exhibitors and is expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors.
Earlier Phillip Blond, director of think tank ResPublica, and a key architect of David Cameron's 'Big Society', told delegates that housing associations can play a crucial role in creating a more equal society.
Mr Blond said: “The state is no longer delivering, it no longer stops the poor from being poor. That’s not a political point, it’s down to failures on both left and right.
“If you go back to the origins of housing associations they didn’t just concentrate on being a good landlord, they didn’t just do housing. Now I feel that far too many of them do too little, given that they have had billions of pounds of public money. Many are doing great things and I don’t deny that being a good landlord is a damn good thing, but I think that is no longer good enough.
“Housing associations can help communities come together and address their problems. You could and should do be doing exciting and radical things like setting up free schools, or bidding to help deliver the new Work Programme. I urge you not to be complacent within the excellence you are already delivering – only then can you live up the aims of your founders.”