Tactical Briefing

So. Pretty good week. Continuing sense of a slow-motion disaster, leeching of authority, absence of direction. But is this necessarily a bad thing?

On the issue of locating new speechwriting talent: we've been canvassing opinions, including consulting our popular-culture-savvy "youth committee". Obviously they scored a big hit with choosing those honoured with bearing the Olympic torch through the streets of London. Really felt they made good picks. Definitely wasn't the sort of list you'd find in the bin at the end of a drunken and angry night in the Question of Sport production offices after a new producer mistakenly tried to introduce a bit of "edge" into the guest list.

In particular, the Sugababes and Denise Van Outen felt like they spoke at once of something very Olympic, very hopeful, very Chinese and slightly repressive. Which were the key themes brought to mind as one watched the wonderful sight of the Olympic flame being sprayed with various substances as it was shepherded through London's streets by armed cops.

Anyway. These were some of the names suggested by our youth consultation committee as worth considering for giving your speeches more "edge":

Russell Brand

Initially, this may seem even less appealing than the Sugababes. However, with his louche variety of sexual transgression, easygoing manner and massive national popularity, is he not your exact opposite - and therefore just the sort of person you need? Author of the bestselling My Booky Wook. One idea was you introducing your address to conference next year as "my speechy weech". Could be kill or cure in terms of your reputation? Russell is apparently not uninterested in the role, although obviously, given his stature, he feels it would be demeaning for him to have to come to you. Nevertheless he would be prepared to interview you about you performing his words at a time mutually convenient to him. Recommend strongly

Denise Van Outen and/or the Sugababes

They always suggest these. Think they're on some form of all-in retainer to government quangos. There may be availability issues. Don't recommend George Osborne

What a coup this would be! The committee were very excited about him writing for you, as they felt he was just the sort of person they would vote for. Despite some "greybeards" making the point that he is a member of the opposition, the youth committee really wanted us to draw him to your attention (though he was universally disliked by everyone individually). Recommend with strong concerns

Peaches Geldof

The obvious choice. But can she be spared from her work in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport? Recommend, with caveats

Let us know your thoughts.

This article first appeared in the 14 April 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Belief is back