Steve Hilton

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Steve Hilton
Steve Hilton 2015.jpg
Hilton in 2015
Born (1969-08-25) 25 August 1969 (age 49)
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Education Christ's Hospital
Alma mater New College, Oxford
Spouse(s) Rachel Whetstone

Steve Hilton (born 25 August 1969)[1] is a British political adviser and commentator. He is a former director of strategy for David Cameron, who was Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. Hilton hosts The Next Revolution, a weekly show for the Fox News Channel which debuted on 4 June 2017.[2] He is a proponent of what he calls "positive populism".[3][4]

He spent a year as a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.[5] He is the co-founder of Crowdpac, a political data technology startup, and is a visiting scholar at the think tank Policy Exchange.[6]

Early life[edit]

Hilton is the son of Hungarian immigrants whose original surname was Hircsák[7] (which some sources spell "Hircksac"),[8] who fled their home during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. They came to Britain, initially claiming asylum, and anglicised their name to Hilton. His father, István, had been goaltender for the Hungarian national ice hockey team and was considered one of the top ice hockey players in Europe in the 1930s.[7][9] After arriving in Britain, his parents initially worked in catering at Heathrow Airport. They divorced when Steve was five years old.[7]

He won a scholarship to Christ's Hospital School in Horsham before studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at New College, Oxford.

Career[edit]

After graduating, Hilton worked at Conservative Central Office, where he came to know David Cameron and Rachel Whetstone, his future wife and Senior Vice-President of Policy and Communications for Uber.[10] He liaised with the party's advertising firm, Saatchi and Saatchi, and was praised by Maurice Saatchi, who remarked, "No one reminds me as much of me when young as Steve."[8] During this time Hilton came up with the "New Labour, New Danger" demon eyes poster campaign[11] for the Conservative's pre-general election campaign in 1996, which won an award from the advertising industry's Campaign magazine at the beginning of 1997.[12] The Conservatives went on to experience their worst election defeat for more than half a century, with some journalists speculating that the poster contrasted unfavourably with Labour's more positive campaign.[13] In 2005, Hilton lost out to future Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove in the selection process for the Surrey Heath constituency.[14]

Hilton talked of the need to "replace" the traditionally minded grassroots membership of the Conservative Party, which he saw as preventing the party from embracing a more metropolitan attitude on social issues.[15]

It is alleged that Hilton said "I voted Green" after the Labour landslide of 2001,[8] but since then he has worked with Cameron to re-brand the Conservative Party as green and progressive. According to The Economist Hilton "remains appallingly understood".[16] There were reports that Hilton's 'blue sky thinking' caused conflict in Whitehall and, according to Nicholas Watt of The Guardian, Liberal Democrats around deputy prime minister Nick Clegg considered him to be a "refreshing but wacky thinker".[17]

Hilton was satirised in the BBC comedy The Thick of It as the herbal-tea drinking spin doctor Stewart Pearson.[18][19]

In March 2012, Downing Street announced that Hilton would be a "visiting scholar" at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies for a year.[20] His last memo concerned the advocacy of severe cuts in the number of civil servants in the United Kingdom[21] and further welfare cuts.[22]

Hilton is co-founder and former CEO of Crowdpac.com, a Silicon Valley technology start-up.[23] In April 2016, Crowdpac launched a beta service in the UK.[24]

In May 2015, Hilton joined the UK think tank Policy Exchange as a visiting scholar.[25]

His book More Human was published in May 2015.[26] It advocates smaller, human-scale organisations and is critical of large governmental and business, including factory farms and banks.[27] With co-author Giles Gibbons, he wrote Good business : your world needs you, published in 2002.[28]

In November 2016, writing for Fox News, he announced his support for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.[29]

Hilton was fired from Crowdpac in May 2018.[30] Crowdpac also suspended fundraising for Republican candidates on its platform.

Hilton presents a weekly show ''The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton'' on the Fox News Channel.[31] He was criticised for failing to pull up his guest Ann Coulter after a false assertion that a recording of children crying were actors.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Hilton is married to Rachel Whetstone, a former aide (political secretary) to Michael Howard, former head of communications at Google, and former Senior Vice-President of Policy and Communications of Uber.[10] The couple were godparents to David Cameron's son, Ivan, who died at the age of six.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steve Hilton: The unseen author of David Cameron's bid for No 10". The Telegraph. London. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "FOX News Channel to debut 'The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton' in May". 15 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Katz, A.J. (June 3, 2017). "Fox News's Steve Hilton is a Strong Believer in 'Positive Populism'". www.adweek.com. Adweek, LLC. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  4. ^ Datoc, Christian (June 4, 2017). "'Positive Populism' -- Fox's Newest Host Talks Trump, Immigration And Terrorism". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "Top British Advisor Joins Stanford". 
  6. ^ "Steve Hilton discusses his new book More Human in conversation with Charles Moore". 
  7. ^ a b c "Steve Hilton: londoni szürke eminenciás". Budapest: HVG. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c Wintour, Patrick (2 December 2006). "'David's brain' transforms Tory brand". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Dubner, Stephen J. (7 June 2017). "He's One of the Most Famous Political Operatives in America. America Just Doesn't Know It Yet". Freakonomics Radio. Retrieved 14 January 2018. 
  10. ^ a b "Rachel Whetstone leaves Google communication role to join Uber". Guardian UK. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Politics Election 2001: 'New Labour, New Danger'", The Guardian, reproduction of poster
  12. ^ Andrew Culf "Demon eyes ad wins top award", The Guardian, 10 January 1997
  13. ^ http://www.metro.co.uk/news/newsfocus/915078-obama-and-romney-second-debate-are-slogans-and-soundbites-helpful
  14. ^ "No 10s new-age rottweiler fights urge to slip the leash". The Times. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Tory MP threatens Cameron with water clock torture – Gary Gibbon on Politics". Channel 4. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "The government has lost its ultimate radical". The Economist. 2 March 2012. 
  17. ^ Nicholas Watt "Steve Hilton policy leaks show Downing Street divide over David Cameron aide", The Guardian, 28 July 2011
  18. ^ Addley, Esther (19 May 2015). "Ex-No 10 guru Steve Hilton provides David Cameron with food for thought". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Owen, Paul (14 November 2009). "The Thick of It: series three, episode four". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "David Camerons stratergy chief takes one year sabbatical". The Metro. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  21. ^ Iain Watson "Steve Hilton's civil service attack uncovers coalition tensions", BBC News, 18 May 2012
  22. ^ Patrick Wintour "Steve Hilton's parting shots: £25bn in cuts and a broadside at the civil service", The Guardian, 16 May 2012
  23. ^ "Institute of Politics Winter 2014 Fellow Steve Hilton: Reforming the Conservative Party in the U.K." Eventbrite. 
  24. ^ "Crowdpac | Giving politics back to people". www.crowdpac.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-26. 
  25. ^ Matt Smith. "Steve Hilton discusses his new book More Human in conversation with Charles Moore". Policy Exchange. 
  26. ^ Hilton, Steve (21 May 2015). More Human. WH Allen. ISBN 978-0-7535-5678-8. 
  27. ^ Mcrae, Hamish (21 May 2015). "More Human by Steve Hilton, book review: Watch out for a Tory revolution, Russell Brand". The Independent. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  28. ^ Steve Hilton; Giles Gibbons (2002). Good business : your world needs you. New York: Texere. ISBN 1587991187. 
  29. ^ Hilton, Steve (1 November 2016), Elites can afford a Clinton presidency, working people cannot, Fox News, retrieved 28 January 2018 
  30. ^ Jesse Thomas. "A stand against Trumpism, a stand for democracy". 
  31. ^ "The Next Revolution | Steve Hilton | Fox News Channel". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-06-20. 
  32. ^ Cohen, Nick (2018-06-23). "Steve Hilton's silence speaks volumes about the hollow men of the right | Nick Cohen". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-24. 

External links[edit]