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How to Use Politicians to Get What You Want Paperback – 14 Apr 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (14 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849540861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849540865
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 659,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Scott Colvin has been an adviser in Parliament, at the national HQ for the Conservative Party, as the head of group public affairs for the world s biggest airports company and as a lobbyist at two heavyweight PR agencies.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Scott Colvin's book has a delightful title and does a good job of living up to the high expectations it sets. Though there are plenty of books about politics in general and also about organising community campaigns, what Colvin's book tries to do is carve out a niche by looking specifically at how to influence politicians and (despite their omission from the title) businesses. Whether it's saving a local Post Office or dealing with a customer service disaster from an airline, his book sets out how to go about getting the result you want.

Helped by his own background in politics, the political section is particularly good at explaining how campaigns look from the politicians' side of the fence and so how best to go about campaigning with a view to persuading politicians to change their minds. The business section is not quite as strong in this respect, particularly in not really giving a sense of how matters look to someone on the frontline of customer service. Politicians come out of the book as people who mostly want to do the right thing and you just need to find a way of helping them do this for you and your situation; businesses come out of the book in a far less flattering light: "the days of the customer is always right are long gone" he claims.

Even so, the advice is still good advice and though its frankness makes it a little controversial at times (especially his enthusiasm for over-egging the pudding about who you know and what contacts you'll use if someone doesn't do what you want) readers can pick which approaches they are comfortable with. The book is packed full of both useful little tips, such as who to copy your letters to in order to maximise their impact, through to more general advice on how to plan a long campaign.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Reading Scott Colvin's excellent new book reminded me of one of the first occasions I ever read a political book: it was Rupert Morris' The Tories. At this point I hadn't yet joined my local Conservative association, so this account of the party and its membership was entirely new to me. Some years later, and now much more of an `insider', I picked up the book again, remembering how much of a gold mine I had found it. This time, I was surprised to find how little he had to say that I hadn't now experienced first-hand.

I suspect Colvin's book offers the same service to anyone who isn't an ardent political activist (but it offers plenty to those of us who are, of which more later). This is a fantastic insight into the pressures on, and priorities of, our elected representatives. Obvious as some of it may be to those of us in the Westminster Village, the rest of the population may at times have a need to understand what motivates politicians, and reading a guide like this would save them years of political activism as a means of learning.

The author's empathy with politicians is the outstanding feature of the book, and Colvin is right to see this as essential to getting politicians to do anything. No one who understands how government in Britain really works believes lurid accounts of laws being made and amended through lobbyists having a brief whisper in the right ear - as if politicians are empty vessels, easy to win around. As the author puts it, "governments do not change their minds because individuals call them up and ask them to". MPs, MEPs, councillors and special advisors in fact have constituents to defend, beliefs they wish to uphold, and face endless pressure from Whips and local media.

So the book traces these pressures and motivations.
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Format: Paperback
Scott is a leading lobbyist and skilfully shows you that winning your day to day battles against those seemingly much more powerful than you can be done if you understand how to maximise your power as a constituent, consumer, and campaigner. This is where Scott excels - the art of achieving what you want, whether that be a faster service in ensuring your boiler is repaired or just receiving a fair deal if it happens to be that your car has been mercilessly clamped. It is not difficult and can be achieved by anyone. Just by understanding the pressure points of whatever organisation you are focusing on and how best to approach them you can improve your success rates very quickly.

This book is not only a lesson in politics and how to effectively use politicians but a lesson in life. Far too often people are willing to blindly agree with a corporate decision to raise prices or provide a poor service. It has in fact become so normal that people are increasingly becoming de-sensitised to it. This is a dangerous development and we have seen with the ever used phrase `rip off Britain' that everyday people feel more and more powerless to big interests. In sum, Scott shows the small person can win and achieving this is nowhere near as difficult than you might imagine.
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