Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Dare to scare

Happy New Year, etc! Really feel things are looking up for us. Your doom-and-gloom Christmas message played very strongly for us. Tracking polls suggest we as a party and you personally now own doom and gloom. It has become our natural homeland.

Now, obviously, this is a little bit depressing; we may want to formulate a strategy to associate you with sunshine and crèches and do more posters of you with your increasingly convincing "smile".

Or - the more radical strategy may be to say: OK, voters associate us with doom and gloom. They may even at some level blame us for it. But in the event of a recession, there's a real sense that we can be trusted to know the phone number for the IMF, remember the combination for the Bank of England big-safe- full-of-gold, and have kept the public information leaflets on how to make soup from a carrot and a handful of dried peas.

Team Boy Band Cameron, on the other hand, look not only as though they have never skipped a meal, but that they have rarely dined below two Michelin stars. These clearly are not the guys you want to be asking, "Brother, can you spare a dime?"

So - being as scary as we dare is a very good line for us right now. Credit crunch. Slowdown. Shit-storm. These are the key phrases we want to be hitting in the weeks and months ahead. The dream scenario is to get everyone terrified of a recession that either: never happens, because we manage the levers of the economy so well; or (much safer) was never going to happen.

Foreign affairs: Pakistan. Think your initial comments on Bhutto played well. You might even want to think about associating yourself with her more strongly. Our line would be something like: "She was not only the Person People Knew from Pakistan, she was, in a sense, the People's Person People Knew from Pakistan."

Blair: We're all very grateful for the "assistance" we've been getting from Pope Pious I of Damascus. Great that he has been encouraging his people to "fall in line" and "get behind you" and "stay united". Thank you, Pope Anthony.

Iraq: One line we thought we could float to break Blair's heart in revenge for his support might be that there is a new "dream scenario" for Iraq. The installation of a secular hardman at the top. Someone to squash al-Qaeda and the Iranian-backed militias and bring back stability and sewerage services. Maybe a military figure from the Sunni population. Obviously, the quid pro quo would be that we'd understand if he didn't bother so much with elections and human rights, etc, and might do a bit of arms development. But the odd village gassed and warhead tested would be a small price to pay for a stable Iraq. We might try to say most of this with a straight face. Maybe even try to get Pope Anthony to announce it?

Let us know your thoughts.

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This article first appeared in the 07 January 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Pakistan plot