A Wiganer approached by Donald Trump’s campaign team to share communications tips has spoken after the US election result sent shockwaves around the world.
Ian Harris, who is originally from Marus Bridge but now lives in London, had a phone call with a woman representing the controversial Republican tycoon-turned-politician about using stories to get a message across.
Mr Trump’s election machine approached 34-year-old Ian after they saw a copy of his book Hooked On You which explores ways companies can build better relationships with the public.
Ian, who previously wrote the Bits and Bytes computing column for the Wigan Reporter as a teenager, said he only played a minor role and was incredibly surprised to see Mr Trump making his way to the White House.
Ian, 34, said: “In the end I only had one phone call and I’m not even sure whether she was part of a local election group or linked to the central campaign.
“She had obviously read my book and asked me a few specific questions.
It’s very unexpected. To be honest I wish I’d hindered them a bit nowIan Harris
“We talked about how to find stories which people will listen to and then link the things you want to say to them.
“They were asking me how you find out what audiences want to hear about and how to get stories from books and movies.
“In the book I talk about finding out who people’s heroes are and then reading their biographies and finding anecdotes about their lives and using that to get people’s attention before pivoting into what you want to talk about.
“She was asking about how you do that.
“It’s very unexpected. To be honest I wish I’d hindered them a bit now.
“When I went to bed it looked like he had no chance and then my girlfriend woke me up saying he had won.
“I only have friends who would support Hillary Clinton, I don’t know anyone who would vote for Trump.
“It’s very surprising and politics is certainly going to be interesting for a while.”
Mr Trump, whose campaign to be president had shocked and appalled many observers with his comments on ethnic minorities, women and Muslims, once again turned the political world upside down as America went to the polls.
The Republican candidate pulled off a string of victories in crucial swing states including Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Ian admitted in May when he was asked to speak to the campaign that he had very mixed feelings about working for Trump, even in a small role.
He moved south aged 17 after a year at Winstanley College, working for a computing magazine in Bath before heading for London in 2010.
He now lives in Catford and does public speaking and consultancy work on brands and communications, with clients including Defra and the BBC. Wiganers were quick to tweet their shock and awe at the election of Donald Trump as US President.
MP Lisa Nandy signalled her displeasure at Trump’s victory, retweeting a meme quoting First Lady Michelle Obama: “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”
Prior to the result, Wigan Council leader, Lord Smith, took a view on US political shenanigans, retweeting a link to an article on the history of rigged US elections.
Labour councillor Michael McLoughlin was one of the few to call the election result correctly, much to his obvious disappointment!
In the small hours of Wednesday morning, he tweeted: “Off to bed...I have a dreadful feeling it’s going Trump”s way. I hope I’m proved wrong in the morning...Fingers crossed.”
A few hours later his prediction proved correct. “Trump...Let’s hope the old saw is right. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good...Haven’t liked a recent election result,” he tweeted.
Education portfolio holder, Coun Jo Platt’s reaction was perhaps similar to the many across Wigan. She simply posted: “USA ‘what the what’ have you done? #ElectionNight.”
Coun James Grundy for Lowton East ward said: “I didn’t even bother watching the results last night as I was pretty much expecting a Clinton victory, but contradictory as this sounds I wasn’t surprised by the result.
“The people who have voted to put Trump in the White House are exactly the same sort of people as those who’ve never voted before but voted for Brexit in places like Wigan and Leigh.
“What it says is that politicians ignore working-class voters who feel ignored at their peril.”
Will Patterson, chair of Wigan and Leigh Green Party, tweeted as news broke of Trump’s impending victory: “To do: 1. Dig out old copy of Routledge Colloquial Russian. 2. Stock up on tinned goods, bottled water. 3. Clear out cupboard under stairs.”
Former Lib Dem councillor Paul Valentine tweeted: “Trump winning presidency must be like a child getting everything they wanted for Xmas and not knowing what to play with first. #ElectionDay”