Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: No-go areas

So, pretty good week. Your "smile" has been playing well back here when you've deployed it in China and India. Really feels like the subliminal message we planned got through: Cameron can have Rwanda and the frozen wastelands, etc, we'll take China, India, Russia, America, Japan and Europe.

Inviting in the "Big Red Chequebook" didn't get much coverage. Bit of grumbling about selling hundreds of companies to an authoritarian regime. But not really so much as you'd expect. Think there's a genuine feeling that it must be all more complicated than that. That's our line. Imagine this is true. Looks like, therefore, one way or another, Northern Rock could end up nationalised. What we may take a while to publicise is that the nation nationalising it might be China.

Anyway, regardless of the crash/recession, the big story that has us worried this week is the "Jacqui Smith prefers not to walk alone in Hackney at midnight shock". This is a key area for us - that we are normal! That we are not a party, for all our faults, of George Osborne types riding around in 4x4s with only the change in road texture alerting us to the fact that we are driving over pedestrians and/or murdered citizens.

Think we need to take this on aggressively. Roll out a programme of cabinet ministers walking in areas that none of us would ever go to in our right minds.

Some initial pitches:

David Miliband - be great to combat public perception that he is too brainy for his own good. Should we send him to Hull and get him to mix it up with some merchant seaman? Be great if he was fine. If not, we could put it out that he can handle himself and once glassed a date-rapist?

Superman Jack Straw - Jack has form as a have-a-go hero. We could send him to an illegal dogfight or a bit of badger-baiting somewhere? Then he could kick off. Does Nicholas Soames still do badger-baiting, or was that just a tearoom rumour?

Jacqui Smith - to neutralise this story, she's going to have to go somewhere really horrible and walk back alone. Shall we send her binge drinking in Plumstead? Walk back to Pimlico? With a traffic cone on her head? Subliminal message: you can have fun and be safe everywhere. Everything's fine. Shut up.

Alan Johnson, Geoff Hoon and Alistair Darling - these have got to be the three tough guys who anyone involved in politics would like to see stripped to the waist and knocking six shades of shit out of each other. Not really a strategic point, but worth mentioning. Could we send them to Chinawhite to show it's possible to not have a fight there? If there was trouble . . . be nice if they could take a couple of Chelsea midfielders out round the back and teach them a lesson.

Let us know your thoughts.

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This article first appeared in the 28 January 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Merchant adventurer