The Brown bounce

Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Loyalty Pledge

So, pretty good week. Think we can ignore the mini-bounce we got from what was definitely the speech of your life. What we need to focus on is the massive opportunities afforded us by the ongoing economic crisis.

Think for possibly too long we have been focusing on what we can change about you to make people like you. By now, however, it has become pretty much certain that there is nothing you could ever do or say that is going to get people to warm to you. What we can perhaps do is change the nature of the world, if not the nature of reality itself, to make people feel your premiership is, at least, the least bad option available.

This is where the economic collapse comes in. Very much feel here that we need to take ownership of the financial crisis. We must, frankly (and this is not a wish, but an objective observation), hope it doesn't peter out too soon. Because the potential collapse of market mechanisms in liberal democracies holds out a number of political and presentational opportunities for us - so long as society can remain roughly intact and we do not regress to become scattered bands of sewer-dwelling rat-eaters.

The conceptual leap we have to persuade the voters to make is to believe that we were doing everything completely right. But then, for reasons totally unrelated to our stewardship of the economy and financial system, everything went totally wrong - and at such a level of magnitude that it would be collective national insanity to consider changing leaders, because you are the only person who has any clue what is going on.

A recent focus grouper compared you to an incompetent, grumpy and dismissive mechanic to whom they nevertheless felt they had to keep returning - because no one else could fathom the various eccentric solutions this arrogant and unfriendly service provider had previously improvised to keep the car moving. If we could get you seen in a similar light by a majority of the British public, this would obviously be a dream scenario.

Now, as regards the climate of opinion with reference to a leadership challenge. As suggested, we've been making anonymous calls claiming to be the authors of a plot against you in order to gauge how advanced plans are for any move.

The very good news to report is that almost everyone, from cabinet level down, was very excited to be contacted by us! They assumed that we were beginning to organise the movement and started to suggest code words for the "operation", secret passwords they had been mulling over, and favoured venues, seating plans and lighting settings for coup summits. But what became clear from this massive outpouring of hostility was that, as yet, no actual conspiracy seems to exist. Result!

Let us know your thoughts.

This article first appeared in the 29 September 2008 issue of the New Statesman, The crash of 2008