A Wigan-born communications expert has landed a surprise role helping Donald Trump’s bid for the White House.
Ian Harris, who is originally from Marus Bridge but now lives in London, was shocked to receive a phone call from the campaign office for the controversial, larger-than-life Republican candidate to replace Barack Obama as president.
Ian, who wrote the Bits and Bytes computing column for the Wigan Reporter as a teenager, came to the attention of Trump’s team after an employee for the business tycoon-turned-politician read his book Hooked On You which explains how companies can use stories to get their message across.
He will now speak to the campaign next week to discuss exactly what his involvement in the bid for the presidency will be.
Ian, 34, said: “I got a missed call from a New York number but at first I thought it was spam. I googled it and I noticed it was connected with Donald Trump’s campaign.
“I rang back and the first person I spoke to knew nothing about it, but then they called back about half an hour later and said they had read my book and wanted to set up a plan to talk about training some of their campaign staff.
I don’t want to inflate my role, I’m probably just giving them some tips. It’s good exposure for me and it’s hilarious, really, I will just see where it goesIan Harris
“That’s all I know at the moment. I don’t know if I will do the training online or if I will get to go over there.
“It seems that as the campaign moves into its next phase they want to spread their ideas and they think stories are a good way to do that. I’ve noticed he already does that quite a bit in his speeches.”
Trump has emerged as the Republican front-runner from a bruising selection process that has left many observers in the USA and around the world stunned.
His campaign has faced huge criticism for his comments about Mexicans, Muslims and women and Ian admitted he had mixed feelings about his most high-profile client to date.
He said: “I’m in two minds about Trump. Some of the stuff he says I don’t personally agree with but in some aspects you can see how he is a breath of fresh air.
“From what I’ve read they’re going to bring him back towards the centre to capture the mainstream vote of people who don’t want Hillary, and my sense is that’s what they want to use stories for.
“I don’t want to inflate my role, I’m probably just giving them some tips. It’s good exposure for me and it’s hilarious, really, I will just see where it goes.”
Ian moved south aged 17 after a year at Winstanley College, living Bath and taking up a post at a computing magazine before moving into the capital in 2010.
He now lives in Peckham and does public speaking and consultancy work on branding and communications, with his previous clients including government department Defra and the BBC.