Friday, July 27, 2007

today : Everything's Gone Brown

If I was Gordon Brown, or Gordon Brown's PR people I would have devised a strategy. As soon as Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister I would have made a clear effort to make myself an integral part of the Blair government, but also maintain a detachment from the inner circle, so that my political image was not subsumed to that of the most popular PM in recent years.

The things is, y'see, I would realise that Blair might go on for quite a few years and that when either he was bored with the job, or the people were bored with him, I could then step in and fulfil my ambition to be the number one guy.

To that end I would make sure that the press were fed a regular series of stories about how, even whilst serving alongside Blair, I was not beholden to him and his power. I would let it slip that we had disagreed on some things, had rows, and generally maintained a fairly rocky relationship. I would not cosy up to the family, or the family circle. I would not want to be seen as a Blairite. In fact, the ideal situation would be to have my own ism, complete with its own ites.

I would stay in the background when really unpopular headline decisions were being made. For example, I would sign the cheques for war, but stay away from the press conference announcing it.

Most of the time I would keep my counsel, allowing others to speak for me, and building up an almost mythical and mysterious image in the public mind. In fact, if I kept a facade of dour near-silence people would be shocked when I came out as a fairly accomplished public figure. All the while I would furiously take notes, gauging what were popular and unpopular decisions and policies, what made the political journos fulminate and what made them happy, what I could take the credit for and what I could credit to Blair.


When the moment came I would step easily into the breach with everything pretty much planned out. There'd be a a few headline policy shifts to signal my intentions, a few cabinet changes and a new agenda. With luck I could make it almost like Blair never happened.

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