Campbell, who was former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s communications director, made the assessment when interviewed by Catherine Salmond, editor of The Herald tonight.
Ms Salmond was questioning the former Labor doctor during his appearance at the Aye Write book festival in Merchant City, Glasgow, where he was discussing his latest book But what can I do? Because Policy went so wrong and how you can help fix it.
Asked if he thought Scotland would become independent in his lifetime, Campbell first asked the audience for their views (the audience was divided on whether Scotland would be independent on such a time scale and also a mix of support for independence and the Union).
Part of the audience, photographed tonight, in the town halls.
He then said, “I think the dial has moved back. I don’t think we will.”
Earlier in the conversation with Ms. Salmond, Mr. Campbell said that he believed the narrative in the following general electionexpected before the end of next year, he should be “putting away the worst government this country has ever had” and in Scotland he did not think it would be about independence.
READ MORE: Brian Taylor: Wait till there are more politicians talking about your money
Ms Salmond noted that in her book she expressed her understanding of why some Scots favored independence and asked what those who supported independence needed to do to achieve that goal.
“I think they’re going to have a hard time getting it, as the dial has been moved back for various reasons. I think if they couldn’t move the dial significantly with the two ills of brexit and [Boris] Johnson, I think it’s going to be tough,” he said.
Alastair Campbell playing the bagpipes at the end of his conversation with Catherine Salmond at the Town Halls tonight.
“I think the reason they didn’t cross the line [in the 2014 referendum]…you have to have the answers to the really hard questions.
“And I think that’s where they fell short. I would say they have to work out the answers to tough questions.”
Asked if he thought the UK would join the EU in the next ten years, the passionate Remainer said “it’s possible”, noting the “rapid” pace of change in current UK politics.
He said Brexit was now “a national problem and international joke” and believed that Labor would revisit some issues related to the UK’s exit from the EU if Keir Starmer became Prime Minister.
READ MORE: Humza Yousaf visits by election sparked by sexual misconduct claims
“I want them to have it in the manifesto, and I think they would have people come together, who are finding it quite difficult at the moment,” he said.
“All they have to do is say ‘the referendum must be respected’, but the Brexit that has been carried out has damaged practically all sectors of the country, we have to review those parts that are and that would imply some renegotiation with our European partners”.
During the conversation, he also said that he liked Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar, but “felt sorry” for SNP leader and Prime Minister Humza Yousaf.
He joked by referring to the police investigation into the finances of the SNP, in which officers seized a caravan outside the home of the mother of former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.
READ MORE: Yousaf Deflects Questions About Latest Luxury Motorhome Revelations
“I feel sorry for Humza Yousaf right now. It’s not easy to go in and find out that every time you go out they ask you for a motorhome,” he said.
“Everything’s gotten a little weird.”
Aye Write was founded in 2005 and over the years has grown in both scale and reputation. As a highlight of Glasgow’s annual events programme, it welcomes visitors from across Scotland and the UK, contributing significantly to the city’s economy and enhancing Glasgow’s reputation as a destination for major cultural events.
This year’s festival program, which kicks off on Friday and runs through May 28, includes fiction, nonfiction, biographies, memoirs, and poetry, and also focuses on nurturing writing talent and skills with workshops for new writers. and master classes for more experienced writers.
Campbell, a former political editor for the Mirror and Today, worked as Blair’s opposition spokesman and campaign manager from 1994 to 1997 and then as Downing Street press secretary and official spokesman for the prime minister from 1997 to 2000.
He was the Labor Party’s campaign manager for the 2005 general election in Blair’s third general election victory as Labor leader. He also acted as an adviser to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband in the 2010 and 2015 general elections.
Campbell is managing editor of the pro-Remain newspaper The New European and chief interviewer for GQ magazine.
He was an adviser to the People’s Vote campaign, demanding a public vote on the final Brexit deal. Since his work for Mr. Blair, Mr. Campbell has continued to act as an independent adviser to various governments and political parties, including the Prime Minister of Albania. In March 2022, he launched the Rest is Politics podcast with former Conservative minister Rory Stewart.
Campbell was part of Blair’s core team that led the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
He has been honored by several Irish universities for his role in the peace process. He became close friends with Martin McGuinness, among others, and attended his funeral in 2017. It emerged that McGuinness was helping Campbell with a novel that had an IRA active-duty unit as part of the plot.