Shaper: Deborah Mattinson

Show aired on 9th December 2017


Deborah Mattinson

Deborah Mattinson has more than twenty five years experience of providing senior clients with research based strategic advice. In that time she has worked with global businesses, major charities, international governments and senior politicians. She is particularly well known for developing innovative ways to bring decision makers closer to their stakeholders.

Before co founding Britain Thinks, she jointly ran the Chime Research and Engagement Division. She was also pollster to Gordon Brown, firstly as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then as Prime Minister.

One of Britain’s leading commentators on public opinion, Deborah frequently writes and broadcasts about the mood of the nation. In 2010 she published Talking to a Brick Wall – the story of the New Labour years through the eyes of the voter.

Follow Deborah on Twitter @debmattinson.

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I’ve been working for myself since I was thirty. I left my job in advertising and set up a business. I always knew that was what I was going to do.

If you are going to set up a business you have to know what you are going to do and you need to have something to offer.  So, for me, it couldn’t have happened earlier.

The thing that really galvanised me was politics. It was my hobby, it was fun, it was the thing that I really enjoyed spending my time on and suddenly it was like, ‘hey, maybe I could do this all the time’.

What I do now isn’t so much mainstream party politics, it’s about this mood of the nation thing and that’s the thing I find so fascinating. If you can find a way of making your hobby your job then you never go to work.

Philip Gould and I put together a consultancy to advise Labour in the very early days working towards – we didn’t know it at the time – the birth of New Labour in the late eighties.

We ran our business, Gould Mattinson, which we ran until after the ’92 election. I suppose I must have known Labour wasn’t going to win the ’92 election.

For the Brexit Diaries we ask people to keep diaries like the old-fashioned mass observation. The insight that it’s yielded into our sort of divided nation has been remarkable. It’s so much more complicated and interesting than leave or remain.

We all seek out people who have views the same as us and then we therefore think that everybody thinks what we think.

It can be a very lonely business working for yourself. For me, as somebody who doesn’t like being lonely and is essentially quite sociable, finding the right business partnership has been amazing.

Cash is king for small businesses.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to spend money and it’s the hardest thing in the world to earn it.