One of the UK’s best political thinkers of our time, Alastair Campbell, has been unveiled as the keynote speaker at this year’s Inverness Chamber of Commerce Highland Business Dinner.
The writer, podcaster, campaigner, and communicator is set to give dinner attendees lots of food for thought. The flagship event, to be held on Friday 17 May at The Drumossie Hotel, is highly regarded as one of the hottest tickets in the Highland business calendar.
Established by Inverness Chamber, the Highland Business Dinner recognises the diversity of the region’s business landscape, its professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the region’s successes over the past year, while remaining focused on its collective ambitions for 2024 and beyond.
Alastair’s career has spanned four decades and is best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Still active in politics and campaigns in Britain and overseas, he now splits his time between writing, speaking, broadcasting, charities and consultancy.
He has written 19 books in the past 16 years, including 11 volumes of diaries, four novels, a number one best-selling analysis of what it takes to win in politics, business and sport, and two personal mental health memoirs. He is currently working on a politics book aimed at young children. More recently his podcast, The Rest is Politics, launched in 2022 with former Tory Cabinet minister Rory Stewart, has regularly topped the UK podcast charts and their live appearances regularly sell out some of the UK’s biggest venues in record time.
His vast charity work has included chairing fund-raising for Bloodwise, a former ‘Mind Champion of the Year’, and he is an ambassador for several charities, including Mind, Rethink and Alcohol Concern. He is a Global Ambassador for Australians for Mental Health. He is also credited for his leadership role in breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness, and in fighting for better services.
As a bagpiper, Alastair once busked around the world and performed in front of 2,500 people in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.
On the announcement of Alastair Campbell as this year’s guest speaker, Colin Marr, Inverness Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive said: “Alastair has worked at the heart of government and has been at the forefront of British political strategy for several decades. That alone would be enough to provide a fascinating evening for our guests. But as someone who has been open about his struggles with mental health and alcohol, Alastair brings so much more than that.
“His ‘The Rest is Politics’ podcast, along with Rory Stewart, has been at, or near, the top of the podcast chart since its launch in March 2022. Its central premise of “disagreeing agreeably” is becoming a lost skill in politics and is perhaps something we could do better in the relationship between the business and public sector. In contrast to his public portrayal during the Blair years, The Rest is Politics allows Alastair’s humanity to shine through. I’m confident that he will be insightful and provocative and that we will all leave the event with new ideas and with renewed hope for the change we can make if we work together.”
Alastair Campbell added: “I am really looking forward to taking part in the Highland Business dinner. Inverness and the surrounding area rank for me among the most beautiful places on earth, and I have had some great times there in the past.
“In this election year I am also looking forward to getting a sense of the political lie of the land, given the importance of Scotland in the UK election as a whole. And if you ask me nicely, I might bring my pipes with me!”
Chamber members will have priority for booking until Friday 22 March. After this date we will open booking to non-members.