Tactical Briefing

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Levy

So, pretty good week. Can't really imagine that things can in any way whatsoever get any worse, ever. So that feels good. Think it best if you stay off the media as you are so wisely choosing to. At least until you can control the rages, and deal with that low moan that you are now almost constantly emitting. It is somewhat endearing, but also somewhat terrifying and unnerving. I'd say that's our one big presentational message to you this week, big fella: "Stop the low moan of the wounded grizzly!"

So, the Blair stuff from Levy is obviously the big story. Think we need to have a little think about the line that you are a liar who has no chance of winning the next election. This clearly has a bad ring to it. Not really sure which bit is worse. Being a liar is obviously terrible; but similarly having TB say we can't win is also incredibly damaging.

Might it be worth us trying to work out which bit is worse? Might take us a while to calculate, but it would be interesting to know, and in some ways we feel like the less we do right now the better, as all endeavours by any part of this administration seem preordained by some higher power to end in total disaster right now.

Shall we put a couple of guys on it to number-crunch and focus-group it?

On Blair and Levy. Think Damian should push the Carole Caplin massage angle very, very, very hard. Is it worth us floating some detail that might be true, to give the story some legs and edge? Say, that he liked to get her to pin a little Green Berets badge on her smock while she relieved his executive tension? Or that he didn't listen to whale music, but the sound of whales being harpooned? That's too much. But something like that. He made her wear a Bush mask? Too Mark Thomas? A Betty Boothroyd mask? Too weird? Diana? The Queen? Campbell? Maybe we should do a whole session brainstorming on this? But really feel there is an opportunity to drag him down into the mud. And think everyone here feels that would be a massive consolation prize if everything continues to turn relentlessly to shit in our hands. As it almost certainly won't.

While we're thinking of distraction tactics, it's been heartening to see the outpouring of national sympathy for John Prescott and his unhumorous affliction. Real sense that with this revelation, he has finally put years of being a national joke behind him and discovered a place as a spokesman on ailments normally associated with teenage girls.

Think that a lot of the unfriendly jokes that have been going round are very much out of kilter with the national mood and we should be careful. In particular, the video clip of him as Mr Creosote from the Monty Python film is not in keeping with the sensitivity we should be showing.

Let us know your thoughts.

This article first appeared in the 05 May 2008 issue of the New Statesman, High-street robbery