Aussie who masterminded Boris win

 

Just after 10pm on Thursday when the UK election exit poll was published, the mood inside Conservative headquarters erupted.

Staffers hugged and sang Queen's We are the Champions and chanted the name of Australian political strategist, Isaac Levido, to the tune of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army.

After internal polls had shown they were on track for a 28 seat win, the 86 seat majority forecast was beyond their wildest dreams.

In reality, the Conservatives scored 365 seats - a majority of 80 in their best result in more than 30 years.

In the hours since, Conservative leaders have paid tribute to the quiet-spoken 36-year-old Aussie who oversaw Boris Johnson's campaign

British Education Minister Gavin Williamson told The Australian said Mr Levido had displayed "brilliance and iron discipline".

"Australians continue to play a major role and have a big influence in British politics," he said.

Australia's High Commissioner in London, George Brandis, said it was a "great result for Australia" that could see a free-trade deal between Britain and Australia.

"Unlike most British elections, this one has changed not just British history but European history too," he told the paper.

"The long national nightmare is over; an issue that has torn Britain asunder for years has finally been decisively resolved.''

Isaac Levido – an Australian political strategist who masterminded the Tory campaign. Picture: Liberal Party.
Isaac Levido – an Australian political strategist who masterminded the Tory campaign. Picture: Liberal Party.

A senior Conservative told the Daily Mail: "Isaac showed real leadership throughout the campaign - he never panicked, lifted spirits on difficult days and had a laser focus on the end result."

"He quickly gained the trust of everyone around him and deserves all the plaudits for an extremely well-run and disciplined campaign."

Mr Levido grew up in Port Macquarie before working for Australian political guru Sir Lynton Crosby's office in Washington. He is also reported to have worked on campaigns for former UK Prime Minster David Cameron and most recently, helped secure Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's victory over Labour's Bill Shorten in May.

In October, he was drafted in to work for the Conservatives with powerful Boris Johnson aide Dominic Cummings deferring to the young Aussie on campaign matters, while he took up residence in a "god pod" of central desks in Tory HQ.

Isaac Levido. Picture: Supplied
Isaac Levido. Picture: Supplied

Campaign insiders said decisions were made quickly and bad ideas instantly dropped, as the party made sure not to repeat the mistakes of Theresa May's campaign in 2017.

Onward think tank director Will Tanner said Mr Levido's campaign was characterised by "discipline and grit".

The Conservative social media strategy was run with the help of two New Zealanders Sean Topham, 28, and Ben Guerin, 24, known collectively as the "meme machine", according to the New Statesman.

Their company, Topham Guerin, is just three years old and worked on Scott Morrison's victory in Australia as well as the with the young Nationals' in New Zealand. The controversial pair is famed for their ruthless approach to social media that involves producing deliberately low-tech memes to appear to the baby boomer generation, or chopping up interview footage to distort the meaning.

In the UK election, Facebook banned a Conservative Party campaign ad that distorted the words of BBC Political editor Laura Kuenssberg and News anchor Huw Edwards.

The party was also subject to complaints about using a "fact check" Twitter handle during a live debate for a Conservative Party twitter feed.


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