Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Capital spending projects

So, pretty good week. Feels like things are returning to a more familiar rhythm again after the period of us riding high with our dreams of a mere nine-point poll deficit. Obviously we're not going to be able to maintain or possibly even achieve that kind of figure. It's just not realistic. But hopefully we can peg things back so we only end up 13 to 15 points behind the Tories, which would be a testament to all our hard work. A landslide sort of figure, but not of comical or historic proportions. A humiliation, but not an embarrassment. Think these are fine distinctions we could start floating now.

Going to be hard for the Tories to pull back rapidly in the short term. Cameron still sounds unsure on the crisis. Like a man who has accidentally found himself giving a public lecture on nuclear energy and, while just about managing to busk it, is continually looking fearfully around the audience aware that at any point he might spot someone who knows he is talking utter toss. Or, worse, that he might be plausible enough in his critique that he ends up getting marched, held aloft by the mob, into the control room of the power plant to be installed as the new operating manager.

Anyway, think the new line about us turning on a Keynesian money fountain is playing very sweetly. Your residual positive attributes mean swing voters are very relaxed about you spraying money around and tend to think you know what you are doing. Plus massive capital projects sound exciting. Activists thrill to the New Deal-yness of it.

One thing that did occur was: should there be mention of a centrepiece project beyond aircraft carriers and schools and hospitals - which are all obviously great, but do already exist? Something new to fix the narrative? We brainstormed:

What about a really huge new bridge? We've been looking on the map. What about from Kent to Essex? That would be quite a legacy. Anglesey to Preston? That's a route with a lot of potential. Tunnel to the Isle of Man?

Or: A monolith? An enormous basalt monolith towering over London? Sobering. Slightly ominous. The monolith of financial insecurity, but also with big tourist potential?

Or: An eco polytunnel from London to Birmingham enabling one to walk or cycle the whole distance without the risk of rain, while also picking unseasonable fruit such as strawberries or loganberries? Quite a statement.

Or: Design a new mythical-type creature for the logo on £2 coin and have genetic engineers try to achieve it as a living organism? With a national competition for kids to name it?

Let us know your thoughts.

This article first appeared in the 27 October 2008 issue of the New Statesman, The death of Gucci capitalism