Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has a surprise fan: David Cameron's ex-advisor and friend, Steve Hilton. The former Downing Street guru says he welcomes Corbyn's unconventional background and finds some of the attacks on him distasteful — though he doesn't believe he would make a good prime minister. Hilton also predicted that Donald Trump will be the next US President and praises him for thinking outside the box on issues such as healthcare.
Hilton, who helped Cameron with the "Big Society" idea that got him elected prime minister in 2010, was derided for wandering around Downing Street barefoot and using expressions like "blue skies thinking." Hilton departed for the US in 2012 to set up a crowd-funding tech company called Crowdpac. His aim is to enable independent politicians to run for office without having the political backing of any party.
"The point of being leader of the opposition is that it's quite a tough job, in terms of pure management," said Hilton, in an interview with The Guardian. "It's not easy, and I think that's where he's coming unstuck. But that kind of impulse of really representing a break with the way things are done is something I really share" he said of the Labour party leader, explaining how he found Corbyn's emergence from the back benches inspiring.
Hilton believes that, although Corbyn and Trump are at different ends of the political spectrum, what they share is a belief that the "establishment" is rotten and new ideas are needed to change the system. "I think that Corbyn's success, just as the success of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, is a reflection of this frustration that people have that whatever they do, in terms of voting for different parties, nothing much seems to change," said Hilton.
Although not agreeing with everything Trump stands for, Hilton said he would not be a disaster if elected. "Trump makes really, really powerful arguments, for example in relation to healthcare. He talks about the cartels and the concentration of power and the health insurance companies effectively having monopolies and ripping people off."
If Cameron is unhappy with his close friend for sticking up for Corbyn, he is likely to be even less pleased that Hilton believes the UK should vote to leave the EU in the country's forthcoming referendum on 23 June.
In an article written for the Daily Mail on Monday (23 May), Hilton said the UK was "literally ungovernable" whilst remaining within the EU. Voting for Brexit, wrote Hilton, was about "taking back power from arrogant, unaccountable, hubristic elites and putting it where it belongs – in people's hands."