Lance Price

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Lance Price
Born (1958-09-03) 3 September 1958 (age 56)
Swanley, Kent

Lance Price (born 3 September 1958) is a British writer, journalist and political commentator. He was a journalist for the BBC from 1981 to 1998, then became special adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, eventually assuming the role of Director of Communications for the Labour Party, coordinating the Labour Party election campaign of 2001. He has published three books, and appears regularly on Sky News and the BBC. On 15 January 2015 Price's publishers, Hodder & Stoughton announced his fourth book: The Modi Effect,[1] to be released on 12 March 2015, detailing the rise of the current Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Upon leaving the employment of the Labour Party, Price has written for an extensive list of media publications and newspapers. He has also appeared on the BBC, whilst embarking on other charitable work.

Education[edit]

Price was educated at Blackwell Primary School and Sackville Comprehensive School, and received a First Class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Hertford College, Oxford. Here, his early interest for media and journalism was evident in his involvement with the student newspaper, Cherwell. Whilst studying Price became involved with the Birmingham Evening Mail and maintained an active membership of the Oxford Labour Club.

BBC journalist[edit]

Price's involvement with the media continued after university, when he joined the BBC as a News Trainee, working there continuously from 1980 to 1998, taking a minor gap to travel in 1992 to 1993.[2] His career at the BBC touched on many topical issues of the time, covering the Northern Ireland Troubles for three years, then becoming a national radio and television reporter, Defence Correspondent, and finally a Political Correspondent based at Westminster. As political correspondent and beyond, he interviewed every serving prime minister from James Callaghan to Tony Blair, and was the only journalist in Downing Street when the resignation of Margaret Thatcher was announced.

Whilst he was a Defence Correspondent Price travelled on the first ever non-stop RAF flight from the UK to the Falkland Islands. His other work with the BBC involved presenting programmes on BBC Radio Five Live, the BBC News Channel and fronting BBC Breakfast News after the Welsh devolution referendum.

Labour Party[edit]

After seventeen years as a BBC journalist he joined Tony Blair's staff at 10 Downing Street in 1998, where he was deputy to the Communications Director, Alastair Campbell. He was promoted to the Labour Party's Director of Communications from 2000 until the general election of 2001, playing a significant role in overseeing the Labour Party's victorious campaign.

Price was the first person to coin the phrase ‘the nasty party’ to describe the Conservative Party during his time at the Labour Party. He came up with the phrase while ghost-writing a statement by Tory defector, Ivan Massow, to the Labour party.

Author[edit]

Price was the co-author and principal photographer for the Berlitz Guide to Iceland, published in 2003, and he maintains an active interest in travel and photography.

Upon leaving the Labour Party Price published the first insider account of Tony Blair's first term as Prime Minister, from 1997 to 2001. The Spin Doctor's Diary was published in September 2005 by Hodder & Stoughton. He appeared before the House of Commons Public Administration Committee to answer questions on the reasons for publishing the book. The Committee went on to recommend a new system of oversight for political diaries.

Price's second book was the satirical novel Time and Fate, published in October 2005. This was a "take on what life was like for a family at the top of British politics".[3]

In 2010, he published Where the Power Lies, analysing the relationship between past governments and the media. The book was published before the phone-hacking scandal of 2010, and argued that successive British governments had been too close to powerful media interests, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Price called for greater transparency about relationships between journalists and politicians.

On 15th January 2015 Hodder & Stoughton announced Price's fourth book: The Modi Effect detailing the "story of Modi's rise to power", arguing that "message-management and IT wizardry combined to create an election winning machine of fascinating power".[4] The book is set for release on 12 March 2015.

Reaction[edit]

Lance Price was called to give evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons in January 2006 in response to his first publication of The Spin Doctor's Diary.[5] The Spin Doctor's Diary caused considerable controversy when the British government tried to block its publication.[6] He also stated that Rupert Murdoch was the 24th member of Tony Blair cabinet.

Despite the initial and ongoing controversy, The Spin Doctor's Diary was shortlisted for Political Book of the Year in the Channel 4 News Awards of 2006. In 2008 it was named by GQ Magazine as one of the top 50 political books of all time. Matthew Parris of The Times called the book "sensational".[7] It was criticised by Rafael Behr in The Observer for not taking us "close enough to the personalities or even the underlying motives of Campbell or Blair" . On the other hand Sir Stephen Wall, former advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair said that "Lance Price was right to publish, and should not be damnned".[8] Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London reacted in his diary within the New Statesman: "Lance Price is a turd".[9]

Price's second book, Time and Fate received generally favourable reviews: with Progress Magazine emphasising “The strong characterisation and compelling plotline [which] make Time and Fate a welcome, gripping page-turner…. a refreshingly engaging political novel in its own right.” The Sunday Times said it was "the corking political novel that Blair's Britain so badly needs"[3]

Price's third book: Where Power Lies received positive reviews by critics. The Guardian described it as "witty, well informed and extremely readable".[10] The Labour Progressives described it as a "thoughtful reflection on the balance of roles between the Prime Ministers and the Media,"[11] regarding its focus on Tony Blair relationship with the media, and how and why future Labour leaders could draw inspiration from it. Rod Liddle argued it was "required reading for those on both sides" in the Sunday Times.[12] Total Politics reviewer: Peter Riddle surmises that Price places the media question "firmly in its historical context".[13] The Financial Times's John Lloyd described the book as an "elegant and well grounded survey of relations between premieres and the press in the UK over the past century"[14]

Broadcaster, lecturer and political commentator[edit]

Since leaving the employment of the Labour Party, Lance Price became an observer of British politics and world affairs, retaining his membership of the Labour Party, as he confirmed during an interview on BBC Radio 5 with Richard Bacon on 11 February 2010.

Lance Price is a regular commentator on British and world politics on the BBC News Channel, Sky News BBC Radio and other outlets. Since leaving politics he has appeared as a panellist on BBC Question Time, and has been interviewed on all leading news and current affairs programmes including Panorama, Newsnight, Channel Four News and Despatches on television, the Today Programme, 'World at One', PM and World Tonight. He broadcasts regularly on the BBC and other British TV and radio outlets, and is a regular contributor to CBS News' London Comment.

Price has written for many newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Sunday Mirror, GQ and New Statesman. He is an occasional contributor to the Australian Financial Review.

Price was a panellist during the 2010 general election campaign for the BBC News Channel and The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4. He has taken an increasingly independent line on political affairs and was one of the first to call for Gordon Brown to step down as Prime Minister after Labour’s election defeat in May 2010.

In September 2014 he published an article in the Independent criticising Ed Miliband's perceived paranoia of Tony Blair, and attacking his often too late communication style.[15]

In recent years Price is accredited with lecturing at Westminster University, CELSA, Sorbonne, Paris, The Westminster Foundation, Tsinghua University, Beijing, International School, Toulouse, The Qatar Foundation and City University Journalism School. He has spoken at the Edinburgh Television Festival, The Guardian Hay on Wye Festival, The Inverness Book Fair, John Smith Trust and The Norwegian Public Relations Association. He has debated motions on politics and journalism at The Oxford Union, The Durham Union and Intelligence Squared.

The Kaleidoscope Trust[edit]

In September 2011, Price launched The Kaleidoscope Trust, a UK-based organisation that aims to improve LGBT rights overseas. The Trust aims to work with existing LGBT rights groups in order to advance their respective campaigns.[16] The launch was hosted by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP, who acknowledged the "global challenge" with regard to advancing LGBT rights outside of the UK.

David Cameron the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom endorsed the project: "In some countries, it’s simply appalling how people can be treated – how their rights are trampled on and the prejudices, and even violence, they suffer. So I want Britain to be a global beacon for reform. That’s why I am delighted to send my best wishes to Kaleidoscope, and wish them well in their work"[17]

Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband described the Trust as "an incredibly important initiative".[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.hodder.co.uk/Books/detail.page?isbn=9781473610897.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Biography - LancePrice.co.uk". lanceprice.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "time and fate - Polperro Heritage Press, Publisher, Worcestershire". polperropress.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Booktopia - The Modi Effect, Inside Narendra Modi's Campaign to Transform India by Lance Price, 9781473610903. Buy this book online.". Booktopia. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Political diary gets mixed reaction in the UK, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 14 October 2005.
  6. ^ Julian Glover. "Ex spin doctor's book faces ban". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Spin Doctor's Diary: Amazon.co.uk: Lance Price: 9780340898222: Books". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Books - LancePrice.co.uk". lanceprice.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Diary - Boris Johnson". newstatesman.com. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v The Media by Lance Price". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Where the power lies". progressonline.org.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v the Media by Lance Price - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Book Reviews: Spinning around for a long time". totalpolitics.com. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Power and the press". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Ed Miliband is so scared of becoming Tony Blair he has forgotten how to communicate". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 'Africa and Middle East in spotlight as group launched to tackle homophobia', The Guardian, 12 September 2011
  17. ^ "David Cameron backs new international gay rights charity". PinkNews. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "'News Release: Commons Speaker Launches Kaleidoscope'". Retrieved 14 September 2011. 

External links[edit]