Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Philip Gould, The Unfinished Revolution, Part 2

TB's decision (p. 219) to send Euan to the Oratory School was " - just - more electorally helpful than not, but that didn't matter to Blair.  He was convinced he was doing the right thing, in every sense...".  Who is Gould talking to here?  it seems to me that decision was eminently electorally helpful, whatever party members thought about it.  His vocabulary is at times impressive.  I don't think I have ever seen the phrase "make choate" used.  Anywhere.  Erudite, too.  He informs us (he might have made it up for all I know) (p. 230) that the term 'Third Way' was first used by Pope Pius XII in the late 19th century, apart of the Catholic church's efforts at the time to come to terms with the existence of this newfangled thing called communism, as well as to recognise c spits list for what it was.  One of the better popes, I fancy.

Gould says that it was he who recommended (p. 236) that "the operational heart of e campaign should be based unambiguously in the leader's office".  Quite possibly Tony had a point of view on that.  It wasn't all about you, Philip, not even then.  He goes on and on and ON about the testing and polling he did, as if no-one had ever thout of it or done it before.  Of the pledge cards he says (p. 265) "The pledges worked better than anything else I have ever tested in politics".  Yes, Philip, but no-one, now as well as then, can quite remember what they were.  So, er...

In 1996 in the US presidential campaign (Gould worked with the 
Democrats for a while) the media area after a residential debate apparently had the sign Spin city, even with the spin doctors' own names. Gold says on strategy and campaigns that the Tories' "New Labour, New Danger" campaign was wrong, because (p. 333) they had thereby conceded New Labour as a fact and said they we frightened of it.  Peter Mandelson's said (p.336) that he didn't know why the 1997 campaign worked, only that it did.  HUH?  After all the planning and strategy meetings?

Standing down the Labour candidate in Tatton (p. 344) was Brown's idea. Which no-one clocked at first.

Despite the vocabulary size and erudition there are some infelicities, such as (p. 347) that e Tory campaign had "lots of gritty images... of the Grunwick dispute".  I think he means "grainy", don't you?

He quotes Alastair Campbell from 1992 as quoting Glenys Kinnock coming back from campaigning in Basildon and saying (p. 339) "They're just not looking me in the eye".  And that is it.  That's how you know.  That's what I didn't dander stand in 1992 and I knew, as a candidate, in 1997 and 2001.

Wy did Alastair Campbell say (p. 385) after TB's speech at the 1997 victory party, "I'm jealous"?  A mystery.  Nkt just that he said it, if he did, but that Gould quotes it.

Gould can be tire lemme too.  When he describes himself as New Labour and a supporter of Tony Blair, he feels the need to use the word "unashamed" (p. 400).

The second term (p. 429) "dominated as it was in so many ways by Iraq" - I don't think it was.  Media, yes, but even there only the broadsheets.  He says Peter Hyman wrote a paper in 1999 which said that key plays were (p. 435) "trapped by the battles they had to fight in the 1980s: 'that mindset, once a laudable determination not to fall into the mistakes of throats, now prevents u s from setting a more confident New Labour position that can galvanise party and public'".  Sit on.

He agonises (p. 443) about leaks which came from "memos taken from his dustbin".  HUH?  Shredders existed in 2001 I believe.  What was he thinking of?

"Tony Blair (p. 447) never felt at home in Millbank during that [2001] campaign, and it is not surprising.  He was not always made greatly welcome there.". How Labour loathes its winning leaders - and candidates.

He reminds us (p. 502) that Tony ended in the Commons, on 27 June 2007, with the words "I wish everybody, friend or foe, well.  That is it.  The end."

That was the last of England, for me.

On reading this book I don't think I like Philip Gould very much.  He is going to be dead soon, but that is not a reason to be nice about him.  Even though the brickbats will come after he dies, look at Steve Jobs.

Part of the history, though.


Anonymous said...

No - it is not a reason to be nice about him - although, of course, it comes to us all. That is what we all share - death and birth. It is called humanity.

Peter Watts, incidentally is a poisonous little toe rag - in hock to whatever those in power say and want - until they turn against him and then he suddenly decides that they are awful and useless etc etc. His comments about Gordon Brown as contrasted with his practice whilst 'in favour' is a case in point.


Anonymous said...

Yep, so right about Watt as well. Trotted round after Alistair Campbell aping his gestures and mannerisms, laughing sycophantly at all his jokes, and pretending to be intimate to all his thoughts.

Until his thrown out of the big boys camp.

Anonymous said...

And now dead.