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Leaders don’t win elections—the battle of ideas is what matters

Leadership has never decided the result of an election. It was policies, more than personalities, that drove the course of the 2017 campaign

By Steve Richards   October 2017

The surge to Labour wasn't just down to Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: PA

Leaders alone cannot account for the outcome of all elections, and have never done so. Other factors are at least as decisive, such as the context in which an election is held and the state of the parties seeking to win. To take a precise example: if Tony Blair had become leader of his party in 1983 he’d have struggled—even with all the skills he applied as opposition leader 11 years later. Why? In 1983 the context…

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