Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Funding/Ray

Another pretty good week. Only lost one cabinet minister. Couple of mini funding scandals. But after the reshuffle think there's a strong and not at all weary sense in the party of another Fresh Start.

On funding, think we need to make absolutely sure that all, and we mean all, skeletons are thoroughly out of the cupboard. Totally.

However, we strongly feel we shouldn't rush to judgement. The public wouldn't like that. What polling suggests is that people want to feel that: yes, there are rules. Yes, they are complicated. No, not everyone necessarily totally understands or follows them. Yes, after a while other people check up on whether the rules have been followed. And yes, if they haven't, something is said to somebody and hopefully that might also be the actual person or regulatory body responsible. But if it isn't, hey-ho, hopefully it'll all come right in the end.

The really important thing is that British politics is basically clean. Not just because we say it is, but because almost everyone with a vested interest says it is. Not like France, etc.

Anyway, assuming this is the correct stance to take (which it definitely is), we'd just like to mention a pretty insignificant fact. Which is that (and we're sure you'll find this as funny as we did) it seems some of our funding sources may not have been accurately lodged with the appropriate authority, which may or may not be the Electoral Commission.

The really good news is that regardless of Red Lion chatter to the contrary, neither the Burmese government nor the nice branch of the Bin Laden family (which is much larger than the nasty side), nor the Société Générale rogue trader, has contributed anything to the running of this office, or our travel and research expenses (TBC).

What is not entirely clear, as yet, is who has been paying. We have suspicions. We have a defunct email address. We even have a cheque stub. But it seems increasingly unlikely that the man who lives above the newsagent and whom we know only as "Ray" is our root funder. Ray, after all, doesn't seem to properly understand how his door works. Let alone the function of tactical political thinking in a representative democracy.

It's possible he does. But it seems unlikely. This after all is a man whose initial response to our requests for more information on his background was to fill a Chicken Cottage takeaway carton with beans and push it out of his letter box. This is not behaviour you associate with someone immersed in the world of public policy research. With the possible exception of Geoff Mulgan.

Anyway. We will keep you posted on developments. The important thing is that despite recent taunts there should be no rush to judgement on this.

No need for your thoughts on this. Think we know what you think.

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This article first appeared in the 04 February 2008 issue of the New Statesman, God