Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Tactical Briefing

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Tactical Briefing

Article excerpt

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Christmas vision

* So Happy Christmas, etc! Real feeling here and at the festive Cinnamon Club lunch with Ed, Ed, Dougie and Damian that we might have turned the corner. Big stories are finally coming in to refocus the agenda. Iraq, children, and in particular Canoe Guy--who, if we could give out honours, we'd make a duke or similar for his services to government news management.

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* The residual issue from the past few weeks is party funding. Think we need to have a massive hard think about this. Ecclestone, Hindujas, and now Abrahams have shown how surprisingly complicated it can be to raise very large sums of money with nothing offered in return. What everyone expects us to do, and indeed what we should probably do, is something clever that screws the Tories while leaving us golden.

* But what about a different route? A bold move that would weaken the party's very basis, almost threaten its survival, undermine its traditional support and cause major internal ructions? Sounds promising, doesn't it? This radical vision is our ideological Christmas present to you. Chew it over with the turkey. Spit it out. See how it looks in the morning. Give it another chew. We think it has a hell of a lot to recommend it.

It would be outblairing Blair. A Clause Four moment to call our own. But much, much more radical than abandoning Clause Four, which really (and without being rude to those involved) was not such a stupid or radical endeavour when you look back at it. …

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