Port Macquarie's Isaac Levido orchestrates Boris Johnson's stunning UK election win

HE HAS COME A LONG WAY: Isaac Levido was in charge of Boris Johnson's successful re-election campaign.
HE HAS COME A LONG WAY: Isaac Levido was in charge of Boris Johnson's successful re-election campaign.

He is the mastermind behind Boris Johnson's thumping election win over the weekend. And he grew up in Port Macquarie.

Isaac Levido was the UK Conservatives campaign director.

He is being heaped with praise for leading an innovative and disciplined campaign which saw the Tories return with a resounding majority.

His upbringing in Port Macquarie was a long way from Downing Street.

"It was a typical Port Macquarie upbringing," Mr Levido told the Port News.

"A lot of swimming, hanging out at the beach and riding bikes around town."

The eldest of three boys Mr Levido said his love of politics developed at an early age.

"My father (councillor Justin Levido) was always interested in politics," he said. " There was always a lot of books about politics around.

"My mum is also a huge influence on me. She always encouraged me to think big, but most importantly to be finding ways to make a positive contribution in whatever circumstance I found myself in."

AN EAGER STUDENT: A young Isaac Levido (left) with his brother Abel as a student at St Agnes' Primary School in Port Macquarie. Photo: supplied

AN EAGER STUDENT: A young Isaac Levido (left) with his brother Abel as a student at St Agnes' Primary School in Port Macquarie. Photo: supplied

He attended St Agnes' Primary School, St Joseph's Regional and MacKillop College in Port Macquarie before studying in Canberra and completing a Masters degree in America.

He worked on Republican Senate campaigns in the US but attributes his greatest training while under political mastermind Lynton Crosby during David Cameron's 2015 election campaign.

"I owe a huge debt of gratitude to him," he said.

Mr Levido played a significant role in Scott Morrison's "miracle" election win in May this year as deputy director of the Liberal Party before he was poached by the Conservatives to lead their team.

The humble thirty-six-year-old is quick to acknowledge it was a "team effort" behind Johnson's win but Levido is the name on everybody's lips.

When the exit poll showed a clear result for Johnson it was Levido's name - to the tune of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army - that was chanted at Conservative HQ.

"Campaigns are large and complicated beasts but they are ultimately about a small handful of fundamentals," Mr Levido explained.

"Message discipline, being research focused (polling) and hence ultimately led by what voters actually think not by the media and commentators."

He said there is often a disconnect between the media and what everyday people think.

The Tories had one main message for voters - 'Get Brexit Done' - taking advantage of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn's indecision on the issue.

For Mr Levido, Brexit was key.

"Politics in the UK has effectively been broken since the result of the referendum, particularly since 2017 where they returned a hung parliament," he said.

"Nothing was getting done.

"People didn't want to hear about politics anymore, they didn't want to turn on the news and have a bunch of politicians screaming at each other."

GOOD IDEA?: The Conservatives used the film Love Actually to get their message through about Brexit.

Social media was employed effectively including a slightly bizarre but unforgettable spoof on the feel good film Love Actually that got everyone talking.

Even actor Hugh Grant weighed in.

"I did notice that one of the cards from the original film he didn't hold up was .... 'because at Christmas you tell the truth'," Mr Grant said curtly on the BBC.

"It was fun, jovial, spoke to the season, but when you watched it you could not escape the message," Mr Levido said of the video.

Of course there were some gaffes.

The excruciating TV interview where Mr Johnson refused to look at a photo of a sick little boy sleeping on a hospital floor and then, rather strangely, placed the reporter's phone in his pocket.

As the leader of the campaign Mr Levido learnt to hold his nerve and "stick with the message".

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Isaac Levido with Australian senator Andrew Bragg. Photo: Facebook: Andrew Bragg

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Isaac Levido with Australian senator Andrew Bragg. Photo: Facebook: Andrew Bragg

By outside appearances the bumbling, unpredictable Boris Johnson, with his chaotic love life splashed all over the British press, seems poles apart from the cautious, family-friendly Scott Morrison.

But Mr Levido insists there are more similarities than you might think between the two men whose election victories he has orchestrated.

"Scott and Boris both benefited from being authentically themselves and voters appreciate and reward that," he said simply.

Does he advise his father Justin on politics, given the deadlock at Port Macquarie council over issues such as an orbital road or the dire quality of the lake?

"I think he is more than capable," he said.

As for the future, Mr Levido plans to take a well-earned break in the UK before contemplating his next move.

"There is no heavily crafted plan," he said. "Christmas in Yorkshire Dales."

This story How the kid from Port Macquarie orchestrated Boris Johnson's win first appeared on Port Macquarie News.