Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Abolishing the Unit

So, the first thing we at the Unit feel is worth looking at this week is the paper that was circulated to us by way of being left on the photocopier, entitled Abolishing the Unit.

Really grateful that your new No 10 team has taken a look back at the policy advice we've been giving over the past year. Only sad that they have so badly misunderstood it.

Of course, out of the heat of the political battle, some of our work may look unduly influenced by day-to-day political currents. Picked out for criticism in particular was our policy paper on the pros and cons of an early election, Go Gord Go: For the Love of God Grab Your Balls and Go For It!!!; and the one issued later that night after some of us had been to the pub and thought about it more - No Gord, No!!! No Logic, No Need, No-Brainer: 20 Reasons Against Going Early.

Then, of course, there was our pre-Budget advice, Inheriting the Earth! Undercutting the Opposition on Inheritance Tax and Bathing in the Wealth of Votes That Will Cascade Down the Generations of Duped Swing Voters. To us, it feels somewhat unfair to look back now at a piece of policy advice on a long-term revenue issue that was really only designed for consumption that week. Several months later, obviously, that policy is going to look opportunistic and self-defeating. But that doesn't mean it wasn't right that week.

Similarly, our pre-Budget historically based essay "Lessons From Herbert Hoover - No Need Necessary for Action in the Face of Impending Crisis" is now apparently unfashionable. For the record, we never said Hoover was worth emulating in his totality, just that the Great Depression was going to happen, as is our own impending crisis, and maybe it is more dignified not to have a frantic Budget "trying" lots of things to forestall a financial crisis that is in all likelihood unstoppable.

Obviously, our desire not to be abolished could be seen as special pleading. It is not. We would be glad to be abolished if we thought it was a good idea. And can we just say, the new Carter-Heywood axis at No 10 is, in our opinion, brilliant. And we're definitely not just saying that as we watch old friends and allies removed from their offices one by one like the Disappeared in Argentina under the junta.

We really feel that there is a new vigour about the whole No 10 operation - as evidenced by our recent massive poll slump. Other organisations might have been fazed by this, but not the new outfit. Really feel that there is now a very real hope we can lose the next election functioning as the slickest political operation in town. Who knows, and, without joking, seriously, and if you keep the Unit, maybe, just maybe, and we're being really serious here, in a way, we could, conceivably, even win?

Let us know your thoughts.

This article first appeared in the 31 March 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Is Boris a fake?