Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has said in his latest book that all party leaders should be seeking psychiatric help.
”Sport is predominantly a physical activity, and yet hardly any of these top sports guys go without proper psychological support. And yet politics, which is primarily intellectual, mental, psychological – most of them don’t have any psychological support at all.”
And he put the blame for this decision with the stigma surrounding mental health, saying politicians were afraid of headlines like ”Cameron has a shrink”.
And highlighting his own professional attitude from those of the politicians he worked for, Mr Campbell said he hired ndy McCann, a mental skills coach to the Wales rugby team, to help him prepare for his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War.
He blamed the failure of New Labour because of Blair and Brown’s inability to work as a team – something which was widely known not just in the Westminster village but anyone even remotely interested in politics.
”We didn’t do so well on teamship, and I think if we had we’d still be there,” he said.
The former spin doctor, who was being treated by a psychiatrist whilst suffering depression, suggested Mr Blair also receive counselling in the run up to the 2005 General Election when he was under pressure from Mr Brown
He said he offered Mr Blair the services of the psychiatrist who was helping him battle depression in the run-up to the 2005 election, when the then-prime minister was under pressure from Mr Brown to announce when he would stand down.
Mr Blair replied: ”I am prepared to think out of the box. But not that far.”
Mr Campbell said current Labour and Tory frontbenchers lack the necessary determination to win.
”Can the Cabinet or shadow cabinet really say that they are waking up every day … putting in the work and effort needed? None of the UK main parties communicate that sense of absolute focus and determination,” he said.
Mr Campbell criticised Labour’s decision to oppose the bombing of Syria in August 2013, because ”what has followed is in some ways even worse”.
But he said Miliband had shown ”leadership”. ”Ed does big, bold things,” he said. ”The circumstances in which Ed became leader, that was a test of mettle on lots of levels.”
While complaining that Labour should be ”battering” the Tories, Mr Campbell hit out at ”noises off” from Blairites such as Alan Milburn and John Hutton who have questioned the party’s direction.
”I’ve said what I’ve said about the economy, but there is a time and a place. Where we are now in the electoral cycle, across the party everybody’s got to get out and fight.”