Departures Podcast with Peter Cardwell

From the earliest days of representative government, special advisers have served an essential background role in politics, never more so than in the last 50 years in Great Britain. They have performed tasks both administrative and policy-oriented, mundane and extraordinary, and have affected domestic and even foreign policy matters, in both seen and unforeseen ways.

In his new book, “The Secret Life of Special Advisers,” Peter Cardwell unravels the decades of mystique surrounding those whom Piers Morgan has called “these miserable little creatures,” key advisers to Cabinet ministers and the British Prime Minster since the 1970s.

Featuring personal anecdotes and incredible stories from his days as a special advisor to four UK cabinet ministers within the Cameron, May and early Johnson administrations. During this podcast discussion with Robert Amsterdam, Mr. Cardwell highlights the importance of a united party, where divisions and excessive amounts of rivalry within a political party can lead to chaotic outcomes on the national scale.

He also touches on the factors that led to Brexit such as widespread mistrust in the government as well as the conflicting loyalties held by ministers involved in Britain’s final decision to leave the European Union.

From the ministers themselves to their advisers to the voters who democratically elected them, ultimately it is a choice to get involved in public life as much as it is a calling. “Politics is often made up of many, many volunteers,” declares Mr. Cardwell at the end of the podcast, and he’s right.