UK Party Mismanagement Makes Politics a Losing Business; New Series on Business and Politics Explains How New Labour Changed the Rules to Everyone’s Detriment

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In the first Guide of The Business of Winning Elections Series, Leslie Kossoff, international executive adviser, looks through the lens of business to map the new political reality. Not pulling her punches, she tells the parties what they've been doing wrong and gives them the winning business strategies they need to create success.

– Politics in the UK are confused and frustrating because Government is now run like a business – and badly.

“When Blair and the boys came into Government in 1997,” asserts Leslie Kossoff, the author of the new The Business of Winning Elections Series, “they were like a bunch of newly degreed MBAs run amok. Now the whole political system is paying the price.”

“It just doesn’t work,” Kossoff continues. “You can’t take one system – government – and simply overlay another – business – and expect anything to make sense. Nor does it. From targets to spin, New Labour established a new set of rules that even they didn’t understand and that left every party reeling. Now, all the parties – and the country – are experiencing the fallout.”

After over ten years of watching how New Labour changed the rules, first of party politics then of Government, international executive adviser Kossoff finally decided she’d seen enough.

“Britain is far too important as a world player – and world leader – to risk its continued fall into disarray,” claims Kossoff. “If the party political system is allowed to go on as it has been – beset by short-term, reactive thinking, outside advisers and too much American influence – it will only get worse. It’s got to stop before it’s too late.”

Kossoff’s answer to the challenge is for each of the parties to set, commit and operate to a long-term strategy. “As we move into conference season we’re seeing all the parties dance and react. It’s short-term thinking played out on the big stage so that the parties look good. Only, as a result, the public have learned not to trust the politicians or the parties for their pretty words. They want consistent, dependable actions – and they don’t feel that that’s what they’re getting.”

As a result, explains Kossoff, it’s not just voter turnout that decreases, but donations to the parties have also dropped substantially for the same reason. “Why would someone put their money into an investment they don’t trust? If they’re not sure what they’re paying for, why would they buy?”

Kossoff’s unconventional approach looks at both “the big boys” and “the little guys.” Starting with a canine comparison of the parties – sleek and arrogant for Labour, low to the ground and thick in the shoulder for the Tories and little and yappy for the LibDems – Kossoff doesn’t pull her punches as she discusses what the problems are, where they came from or what to do about them.

Whether it’s explaining how Paddy Ashdown fell for Tony Blair’s seductive line prior to the 1997 landslide “like a virgin with a married man,” how Michael Howard shot himself, his party – and even his successor – in the foot by agreeing to ID cards before knowing what the Government had on offer, or how Blair has made himself a non-issue when it comes to Labour’s branding for the future, Kossoff, a self-confessed outsider, uses the information available to the British public to provide the winning strategies for the next elections – and the ones long after that.

As Kossoff puts it, “Everyone has been working at a real disadvantage and it’s time someone leveled the playing field. It couldn’t be done from the inside. It needed a new and different approach. Well, I’ve provided it. Now it’s up to the parties to do something with the information – and the ones that do will be the ones that win.”

About Leslie L. Kossoff:

Leslie Kossoff is an internationally renowned executive adviser, award winning writer and acclaimed speaker. Working with clients from start-ups to Fortune 50s in the private, public and third sectors, she is bringing her experience working with executives and organizations around the world to the political sector. A colleague of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the master of continuous improvement, Kossoff has been cited as “one of the most perceptive and intelligent voices on leadership today” by


Party Positioning – The Business of Winning Elections Series

Downloadable PDF; £45.00; Release September 2005

Leadership and Succession, the second monograph, will be released in Autumn 2005.

For additional information about Leslie Kossoff and The Business of Winning Elections Series, please visit or call (in London) 020 7863 1733 or (in San Francisco) 415 789 7285.

For a press copy of Party Positioning, please contact:

Diana Edwards


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Diana Edwards