Steve Hilton

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Steve Hilton
Steve Hilton 2015.jpg
Steve Hilton, 2015
Born (1969-08-25) 25 August 1969 (age 51)
United Kingdom
NationalityBritish
EducationChrist's Hospital
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Spouse(s)Rachel Whetstone
Parent(s)István Csák

Steve Hilton (born 25 August 1969)[1] is a British political commentator and former political adviser.[2] He served as director of strategy for David Cameron, who was Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. Since 2017, Hilton has hosted The Next Revolution, a weekly current affairs show for Fox News.[3] He is a proponent of what he calls "positive populism" and a vocal supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump.[4] He is the co-founder of Crowdpac.[5]

Early life[edit]

Hilton's parents, whose original surname was Hircsák[6] (which some sources spell "Hircksac"),[7] emigrated from Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. They came to Britain, initially claiming asylum, and anglicised their name to Hilton. Hilton's 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.[6][8] After arriving in Britain, his parents initially worked in catering at Heathrow Airport. They divorced when Steve was five years old[6] leading to what he has described as a struggle and great financial hardship; his mother worked in a shoe store but was primarily dependent on state benefits, and the two lived in a cold, damp basement apartment.[9]

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, who became his wife and, later, 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."[7] During this time Hilton bought 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,[7] 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]

His last memo concerned the advocacy of severe cuts in the number of civil servants in the United Kingdom[20] and further welfare cuts.[21]

Hilton is co-founder and former CEO of Crowdpac.com, a Silicon Valley technology start-up.[22] In April 2016, Crowdpac launched a beta service in the UK.[23] Hilton resigned from Crowdpac in May 2018.[24] Crowdpac also suspended fundraising for Republican candidates on its platform.

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]

He spent a year as a visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.[29][30]

Fox News[edit]

In November 2016, writing for Fox News, he announced his support for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.[31] Since 2017, Hilton has presented the weekly show The Next Revolution on Fox News.[32]

He was criticised for not rebutting his guest Ann Coulter when she falsely asserted that a recording of migrant children who were separated from their parents by the Trump administration crying were actors.[33]

In March 2019, Hilton claimed that CNN, MSNBC, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as well as Democratic congress members Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell were the "real agents of Putin" for playing a role in "dividing" the United States over Trump's alleged ties with Russia.[34]

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and shortly after social distancing measures and lockdowns were implemented, Hilton called on President Trump to end the measures. Hilton criticized "our ruling class and their TV mouthpieces [for] whipping up fear over this virus". Hilton suggested that "the cure could be worse than the disease"; or more specifically that the long-term public health consequences resulting from the economic damage of a lockdown would be worse than the short-term public health consequences of the virus itself. Trump later appeared to mimic what Hilton said in one of his tweets.[35][36][37]

After the 2020 election had been called for Joe Biden, Hilton promoted Trump's claims of large scale fraud on his Fox News show.[38] Trump subsequently tweeted a string of Hilton clips.[38]

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.[39] In 2019, he announced that he was in the process of becoming an American citizen.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steve Hilton: The unseen author of David Cameron's bid for No 10". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0TLQtRP5no
  3. ^ "FOX News Channel to debut 'The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton' in May". 15 March 2017.
  4. ^ Katz, A.J. (3 June 2017). "Fox News's Steve Hilton is a Strong Believer in 'Positive Populism'". www.adweek.com. Adweek, LLC. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Policy Exchange | Shaping the Policy Agenda".
  6. ^ a b c "Steve Hilton: londoni szürke eminenciás". Budapest: HVG. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Wintour, Patrick (2 December 2006). "'David's brain' transforms Tory brand". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Golomb, Robert (1 November 2018). "Steve Hilton: England's Horatio Alger Comes To America". NewsLI.com. New York. Retrieved 4 November 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. ^ "Obama and Romney second debate: Are slogans and soundbites helpful?". metro.co.uk. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  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. ^ Iain Watson "Steve Hilton's civil service attack uncovers coalition tensions", BBC News, 18 May 2012
  21. ^ Patrick Wintour "Steve Hilton's parting shots: £25bn in cuts and a broadside at the civil service", The Guardian, 16 May 2012
  22. ^ "Institute of Politics Winter 2014 Fellow Steve Hilton: Reforming the Conservative Party in the U.K." Eventbrite.
  23. ^ "Crowdpac | Giving politics back to people". www.crowdpac.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  24. ^ Weigel, David (19 May 2018). "Fox News host Steve Hilton wanted to disrupt the party system. This week, he left his PAC". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  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. ^ "FSI | CDDRL - Top British advisor joins Stanford as visiting scholar". cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu.
  30. ^ "David Camerons stratergy chief takes one year sabbatical". The Metro. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  31. ^ Hilton, Steve (1 November 2016), Elites can afford a Clinton presidency, working people cannot, Fox News, retrieved 28 January 2018
  32. ^ "The Next Revolution | Steve Hilton | Fox News Channel". Fox News. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  33. ^ Cohen, Nick (23 June 2018). "Steve Hilton's silence speaks volumes about the hollow men of the right". the Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  34. ^ Baragona, Justin (25 March 2019). "Fox News Host: 'Real Agents of Putin' Are CNN and MSNBC". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  35. ^ Relman, Eliza. "Trump's favorite Fox News hosts are pushing him to prioritize the economy over social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  36. ^ Balluck, Kyle (23 March 2020). "Fox's Hilton: 'TV mouthpieces whipping up fear' over coronavirus". TheHill. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  37. ^ Mazza, Ed (23 March 2020). "Trump Repeats Latest Bonkers Fox News Coronavirus Claims In Midnight Rant". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  38. ^ a b "Trump tweets bizarre string of Steve Hilton clips without comment as he rages at election defeat". The Independent. 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  39. ^ Odone, Cristina (6 September 2011). "Why every baby needs a power godparent" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  40. ^ Steve Hilton announces he's applying to become US citizen, Fox News, July 7, 2019, retrieved July 6, 2020

External links[edit]