Philip Collins

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Times Writer & Blair’s Chief Speech Writer

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Synopsis

Philip was once a teacher and a top ranked equity strategist, before becoming Blair’s chief speech writer. For The Times, Phil weighs up the personalities, compromises and agenda of the leading political players, and considers the future for the parties and their leaders. Alongside examining what persuasive communication looks like, he also considers the power of speeches and speechmakers, looking at those that have changed the world, as in his book When They Go Low, We Go High.

Biography

Philip Collins is a columnist for The Times and was the paper’s Chief Leader Writer for almost a decade. He served as Tony Blair’s Chief Speech Writer for five years, leaving Number 10 on the same day as the former PM and penning his last speech in office. He now casts an insider’s eye over Westminster events as well as analysing what makes persuasive communication.

Before joining the Blair communications team, Phil was Director of the Social Market Foundation think tank working on the intersection of markets, society and state. Before that he worked in the City in investment banking, including a time as the top ranked equity strategist in the smaller companies sector. He also spent time teaching, and working at the BBC and ITV before joining politics at the Institute of Education then as a policy advisor for MP Frank Field.

After leaving Number 10 Phil worked with a number of companies at a senior level on areas of strategy and presentation, helping them to form their messages and communicate them internally and externally. At The Times, he has become one of their most read writers. His mix of humour, straight talking and intimate knowledge of government from policy to media presentation has garnered fans (and critics) around the world. He’s also a regular on TV and radio commenting on political events and set-piece speeches.

As well as a view on leadership and strategy, Phil looks at how to communicate your intentions, set the agenda, and persuade others of your argument with the right balance of emotion and reason, depending on your audience. He considers how certain strong leaders are one-offs, and others should not necessarily seek to emulate them, but find their own strengths and methods. He also analyses how strategy is formed, and the importance of having all key people on side, and the reasons why they might not be.

Phil also delivers an entertaining insight into Westminster; the deals, the personalities, the agendas, the compromises and what it might all mean. He reveals the secrets of politics, why strong leaders often give way to weaker ones, and reasons to be positive amongst the chaos. As in his book When They Go Low, We Go High he also looks at the unique power of the speech, and at the common elements to the speeches and speechmakers that changed the world.

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