James Dee

James Dee: Campaigning the Conservative Way

James Dee studied Politics and International Relations and jumped into the political arena as soon as he arrived by joining the Students’ Union. He held various positions during his three years here and it gave him the appetite to continue in the political field.

Since his graduation in May 2012, James has gone from student representative to Parliamentary Assistant, political campaigner and now finds himself working for a world-renowned communication and campaign expert. Looking back on his first five years in the world of work, James reflects on his career so and how his time at CCCU helped to kick-start his passion for politics.

During the 1992 General Election campaign the Conservative Party ran a poster advert that read “what does the Conservative Party offer a working class kid from Brixton? They made him Prime Minister.” When I first came across this slogan during my time at university, I had no idea just how much relevance it would have in years to come.

Looking back on my first five years in the world of work I think the Conservative slogan can be adapted to say “what can CCCU offer aworking class kid from Hastings? They gave him the tools to succeed.”

Since graduating from Christ Church in the summer of 2012 I have been incredibly fortunate to hold some important, interesting and intense jobs. From Parliamentary Assistant to MPs in Westminster, to Campaign Manager for Cabinet Ministers; Regional Campaign Director for the Conservative Party to now being a Campaign Consultant working for Lynton Crosby.

Throughout all these roles there has been one common thread, the application of the skills I learnt whilst at Christ Church. I fundamentally believe that my three years studying within the Department of Politics and International Relations provided me with the political understanding, development in my life-skills and a growth in my confidence that has enabled me to navigate the choppy world of politics.

More important than the content of my degree were the skills I developed,and throughout the three years there were a variety of skills that helped me when entering the world of work. From public speaking to time management; analytical research to keeping organised; networking to building a strong work ethic. All these skills were enhanced and supported throughout my time at university. Moreover, it was the care and attention that the staff within the Politics Department paid towards this development that really helped me.

The dedication and time given up by the staff was second to none. It grounded me in my three years and provided a comfort that whenever there was a need to work on a particular area or seek support, there would always be someone on hand to help. Not only did I receive the support I needed but I, along with my fellow students, were taught by experts in their fields on subjects ranging from political thought and conflict resolution; minority rights to European politics.

With the knowledge and skill set I developed at university I then embarked on a career in politics. I started out by looking to London and the opportunities that lay within the Capital. My first job was with the British Council, an arm of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that sought to export British values and culture around the world. I spent six months here until I found my real calling just down the road from my office.

In October 2012, the course of my career changed and started me out on a journey I never thought possible. The next four years would see me walking the corridors of power from Westminster Palace to 10 Downing Street; meeting with politicians right up to the Prime Minister, and working alongside campaign experts from Lynton Crosby to Jim Messina.

Whilst working for the Conservative Party, in various campaigning roles, I honed my ability to work in the world of politics, and in particular to run successful campaigns. The continual development of my skill set was the underlying current that helped me to succeed, and this was in no small part thanks to the work and training I received from Lynton and Jim.

In my current role, I’m now working for one of the world’s most renowned and successful campaigners, Lynton Crosby. He is an expert in his field, and to be working on a daily basis with him is giving me a real insight into the workings of a successful campaign and how it is you can go from amateur to successful professional. Campaigning is a brilliant mixture of passion, dedication, thought and hard work. To have the opportunity to work where I do is incredible, and is in no small part thanks to the skills I learnt at university.

What my journey through politics has taught me is that even a lad from Hastings, whose chances to rise through the social ranks seemed limited and out of reach, has the chance to succeed. All you need is the stubbornness to succeed, the ambition to achieve, the energy to excel and most importantly the willingness to reflect and develop upon your skills.

Finally, this takes me back to my time at Christ Church. It was in those early days at university when the staff saw the potential in myself and my fellow students and then reached out to us to provide the support we needed to grow and develop. It was my three years at university that got me to where I am today, and I have no doubt that the lessons, challenges and advice I have received along the way have helped me achieve what I have so far.

My advice to any student starting out on their studies at university, and especially within the Department of Politics and International Relations, is to take on every opportunity afforded to you. The greater your experiences, the wider your understanding and the bigger your connections, than the better your chances will be going forwards. Christ Church is a fantastic institution to study at, and the staff at POLIR offer a great combination of courses with the excitement, rigour and support you’ll need to set you up for a life in the world of work. 


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Last edited: 30/04/2019 10:46:00