ALASTAIR Campbell has announced that politicians can learn a valuable lesson from Susan Boyle, the middle-aged Scottish spinster whose unruly appearance but sensational singing on Britain's Got Talent has attracted global media attention.
While Tony Blair's former spokesman did not go so far as to suggest politicians serenade the electorate with a rendition of I Dreamed A Dream, from Les Miserables, as Ms Boyle has done to the delight of millions of viewers on television and via YouTube, he did advise them to recognise her "authenticity".
In a post on his blog, Mr Campbell said: "If politicians tend to read the Sunday papers with a mix of horror and trepidation, one person who must read them week after week with a sense of his own skills in shaping the popular culture agenda is Simon Cowell.
"The overnight sensation that is Susan Boyle and her 25 million YouTube hits is the latest chapter in Cowell's story.
"If there is a lesson from her success for politicians, it is authenticity. It is the only communication that works."
As of last night her performance had been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube.
And yesterday Ms Boyle's singing teacher revealed that she was a serial talent show failure who had previously auditioned without success in the late 1990s for My Kind of People and abandoned the auditions for The X Factor when she realised people were being chosen for their looks. Fred O'Neil said that Ms Boyle's audition for Britain's Got Talent was her final throw of the dice.
He said: "I remember a phone call late last year when she said she was too old and that it was a young person's game."
Mr O'Neil urged her to reconsider and attend the auditions in Glasgow.
This weekend Elaine Paige sent a message of support to Britain's latest and possibly most unlikely singing sensation.
Ms Boyle, 47, told the talent show she had dreamt of becoming as successful as Paige, who starred as the original Evita in London in 1978.
The veteran singer said there had been a huge reaction to Ms Boyle's performance from listeners to her Radio 2 show.
In a message posted on her website, she wrote: "Ever since Susan's appearance on Britain's Got Talent my Radio 2 inbox has been flooded with e-mails. It seems her performance has really captured the hearts of everyone who saw it, me included ... it looks like I have competition. Perhaps we should record a duet?"
Paige is not the only celebrity backing the unemployed church volunteer from Blackburn in West Lothian. Hollywood actress Demi Moore last week said she was reduced to tears by the performance.
Ms Boyle, complete with her distinctive curly locks, won over a sceptical audience to become a global phenomenon following her appearance on Britain's Got Talent. Her performance was also watched by millions online.
She has been catapulted into the limelight in America, where her story has been featured on US morning television shows and news programmes.
She was interviewed by satellite from Scotland for the talk show Larry King Live. The show which will be broadcast on CNN International today.
Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has also sent a letter of support to the singer, who hails from the same area of West Lothian as the SNP leader.
The First Minister's letter offered his "warmest congratulations" for what he describes as a "stunning performance".