Saturday, April 30, 2005

Taking a break from writing some speeches for Tony. Not been the best bloody week. First the leak and misrepresentation of my memo, then Tony being forced to release legal advice relating to the war and if that wasn’t enough put under all that pressure by Dimbleby and the GP. Good thing people just don’t trust MH.

However, must look forward, not back. To Tony’s double celebration next Friday of course. It’s also his birthday.

One positive thing to note – Piers Morgan’s book of fairy tales has finally been knocked off the top of the bestseller list. Who bought and read the fucking thing? Must need their heads examining.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bloody great to see that the Tories are so wound up that they have changed not only their fucking pathetic slogan but their whole campaign tactic with only 10 days to go. Although, not complacent MH really shot himself in the foot with his two nil analogy and hopefully confused the hell out of most people.

Of course being a Liverpool supporter I’m sure there’s nothing more he enjoys than seeing The Reds win.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Old Vic yesterday for a rally to mark World Poverty Day. Good day even though crowd full of usual bloody liggers. Of course Tony and GB were there to speak as was Bill Clinton – though this time I didn’t write his speech for him! But I did for Tony and GB who both had the crowd laughing and crying. Hope that will now put that bloody memo leak to bed.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Sunday Times have totally misrepresented me over the memo I sent out yesterday. Have been busy all morning trying to sort out the mess. We are not complacent – there is still a lot of fucking hard work to be done over the next 10 days. We are worried about turnout and the Tories focusing on marginal seats. Will be having some serious words with those idiot hacks at The Sunday Times.

You can read my whole memo here.

TB has asked me to set out a campaign overview as we enter the final full week of the campaign. Here it is.

Private polling reflects published polling. Lead is stable. TB rating up. MH down. CK failing to make headway. TB-GB joint campaigning has seen our lead on leadership in the economy rise even further, leads on health and education have also risen. When asked “who do you trust to run the country/economy?” we have a growing lead.

So the strategy – root everything in the economy, focus on values/dividing lines in public services – is on track and working.

The overnight tracking polls show we can be confident on asylum and immigration. TB’s speech had huge awareness and he seems to have got the balance right, between action on the one hand, tolerance on the other. In the focus groups, there are now signs of a negative halo effect for Howard ie when the Tories focus on asylum and immigration it has the effect of skewing the perception of the party to the Right and turns off centrist voters.

People are beginning to ask if MH ever talks about anything else. Men in particular have begun to notice MH never speaks on the economy. People are beginning to compare him negatively with Mrs Thatcher (and even with John Major!) His nastiness and a sense that he is extreme are now being raised without any prompting.

Asked where to place the Tories on a Right to Left scale of -100 to +100, where 0 is the centre, people placed the Tories at an average of +36 at the start of the campaign, in the last few days that has risen as high as +57, indicating that they have been seen to move sharply to the Right. Labour has moved from -3 to -6, on the same scale. We are now very close to the centre.

This appears to be very good news for us. It means the Tories are increasingly being seen as extreme. It is also clear as per Crosby’s memo in the Guardian, that they are sticking to their “send a message” strategy, rather than going to win, and they are not even putting forward a programme for government.

However, TB is concerned that we understand fully the kind of campaign they are running. Of course we have to say they have vacated the field on the economy, and that they do not have a serious or coherent programme for government. But in terms of their strategy, that misses the point. They are fighting a different sort of campaign, focusing ruthlessly on the marginals, targeting specific voters with specific messages designed to arouse fear and grievance. It is, as TB has said, nasty and unscrupulous, but it still has the capacity to be effective in some parts of the country. So the big national poll leads do not matter. What matters is that we understand the nature of their campaign, expose it, and fight it very hard on the ground, by making sure our messages and policies are heard, and theirs rebutted. We have gathered a good deal of their local material which will allow us to continue to expose what they are up to through the week. It is a deliberately sneaky strategy which once fully exposed will damage them.

Allied to this, we need to build on the argument that just as voters used to punish us in the 80s because we failed to listen, and because of the nature of our campaigns, so the public should see this election as an opportunity not just to support us, but to punish them, send them a message that they deserve to lose and need to go away, rethink, start compromising with an electorate that has moved on from the Thatcher years.


TB is anxious that we understand fully the implication of the analysis PG presented on turnout yesterday. The reality is, as we succeed in our attacks on the Tories, and as Howard becomes more and more visible, we rise in the polls, which then has a direct and immediate impact on the prospects for turnout.

Among certain groups, there has been a sharp decline in certainty to vote in the last week. Certainty to vote for Labour has dropped by around 7% and among the people who are most strongly aligned with us on issues such as health and education, the drop has been bigger. This has little or nothing to do with apathy or disillusion. It is more that if the poll lead widens, they feel sure we are going to win and less compelled to vote. This again plays into Crosby’s Queensland strategy.

In summary, we are very well positioned in the debate but there is a strong risk low turnout could hit us very hard, indeed. So far we have been engaged in making and winning arguments. This job is largely done. Next week, we will be back on the economy, TB-GB, dividing lines in public services. The arguments keep going but we will be shifting to a greater emphasis on the importance of voting. We have new posters planned for today, on schools and hospitals, with the slogan, “If you value it, vote for it.”

We have an economic version planned for Monday’s TB-JP-GB cities event. We then get up the choice on public services, tax credits, before launching the business manifesto to get another day on the economy. It’s pretty simple: when we are on the economy, we win the arguments. But we now need to inject a greater sense of this being about values every bit as much as competence - with a real focus on the importance of voting, moving eventually to the line that if people stay at home, or go with the Lib Dems, they will wake up with Howard.

The rest of the campaign should be relentlessly about why voting matters, and we should be focusing on issues which are more likely to convince our supporters to vote. That means the economy, health, education, family tax credits, minimum wage, which every poll has shown to be our singly most popular policy.

Finally, on the Lib Dems, GB is setting out at this morning’s p/c the argument that serious people cannot take the LDs seriously. We know CK is going big on Iraq next week. It is to him what immigration is to Howard. Our answer is two-fold: defend the points on Iraq, on the grounds that if CK’s view had prevailed, Saddam would still be in power. But also point out CK focused on this because his policies on the economy and crime/legalising drugs in particular, are a joke.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Have been invited by Burnley directors to their box today so am driving to Nottingham this afternoon. If Forest lose they're going down!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Great to see Tony taking my advice and trying to give Jeremy Paxman as good as he gets.
As you’ve probably seen the Tony we’re portraying this time is very different from the fresh-faced “Things Can Only Get Better” Tony from yesteryear. Trying to make him seem more experienced and mature. For a start his hair is going forward, not back!! (Don’t worry – Tony is used to me humiliating him. There was the time in Northern Ireland when I wanted him in bed and stopped him and his entourage going for a quick drink in the pub and then kept them all awake by playing the bagpipes. Or indeed in front of Paxman with the whole issue of Afghanistan’s poppy fields. Still did a better job of stats than CK. Then at least the BBC were on side and had the good grace to put most of the interview on the cutting room floor.)

Talking of sides, my good friend Rebekah Wade has finally done her stuff and come out in support of Tony.
Excellent journalism!! In touch with the people by pretending to sit on the fence till the last minute and then declaring allegiance to Labour just in the nick of time. Howard – you’ve had it sunshine!! Owe Rebekah a nice lunch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

With Tony in Leeds. Trying out Starbucks wireless connection while Tony has an impromptu cup of coffee. Then to NHS IT department and later interview with JP.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Have just had a bloody big row with the writer of Tony's campaign diary. Some joker has had a lame pop at me which is not fucking funny. David Hill refuses to have it taken down as he says it is important that we show Tony to be in touch with the people. A campaign strategy nicked straight from me please note.

I could tell the minute I arrived at our hotel in Birmingham yesterday that I was not exactly the star attraction. The autograph hunters were there for Kylie who is currently on tour in Britain. It meant I was struggling to get the best out of my team who kept wandering off to join the groupies hanging around for a glimpse of Kylie. My press team were all singing “I'm spinning around.” Only they weren't.

Tony doesn't even like Kylie - much prefers Christina Aguilera.
Amused to see the BBC is still terrified of pissing me off. Their new political sitcom, The Thick Of It, has been postponed till after Tony's election.

However, still not happy that it's being shown at all. Armando Iannucci who wrote it, once had the audacity to call Tony weird, and is one of those prats who thinks the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein was still running Iraq. Plus he's had the fucking cheek to base one of the characters on me. When will they learn?

Monday, April 18, 2005

News reaches me that Greg Dyke, after 40 years support, is to switch allegiance to Charles Kennedy and his band of merry men. After the way they treated me over the Andrew Gilligan affair should come as no surprise.

However, disappointed that he has turned his back on Tony after the support he has given him over the last number of years. Important now to keep other media types on side.
Received an email at the weekend with details of a website that purports to help you make up your mind how to vote at the General Election. Answer a series of questions and you will be advised to vote for either Labour, The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats or (FFS) UKIP or Green Party.
Completed questionnaire and of course returned a resounding and not unexpected answer of Labour. Unfortunately when I sent details to Tony the software seemed to have malfunctioned. No matter how many times he tried to submit his answers it kept giving the same response: that he should vote Conservative. New technology not to be trusted and have fired off rather colourful email to owners of site telling them so.
While waiting to be fixed have devised my own much simpler test to help you decide what to do on May 5th. Just answer the following question and record your result on a piece of paper. (Cannot do clever tick box bollocks.) Then scroll down to find out who you should vote for.

Who do you think should lead Britain for a historic 3rd term in the next parliament?

a) Tony Blair
b) Michael Howard – a man with a Shadow cabinet, but interestingly, no shadow
c) Charles Kennedy – a tired and emotional new father who’s prepared to steal money from his money from his own baby
d) Some faceless, nameless fascist you have never heard of
e) Some faceless, nameless tree-hugger you have never heard of

If you answered a you should vote for Labour
If you answered b, c, d or e you should stay at home and not vote at all.

Alright – just a little joke – would not want to be accused of dirty tricks campaign.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Up since 4 am. Couldn't sleep so used time constructively writing to the tossers at the Guardian correcting all the idiotic mistakes they still insist on making. Where do they find these hacks from? Haven't done that for a while and feel much better for doing so.

London Marathon today - Wonder how many of them got sponsorship from George Bush though!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Re my post of the 13th – did not mean to piss off Kiwis before I’ve even begun. Supposed to be getting local community on side after all. So therefore, for Kiwi twats, read Kiwi journalist twats. Sure their journalists are just as full of bollocks as all other journalists. Make no apologies for that.
And note to Kilroy-Silk and Sean Connery – just fuck off.
Starbucks on Victoria Street for some reason has become an unofficial meeting place for General Election strategy chat. Nothing freaks out those Tory twats though more than me pressing my face to the window and directing the universal sign for onanism at them. So far spotted Oliver Letwin, Tim Collins and even Jonathan Marland, their chief fundraiser, wasting money on skinny-decaf-frappe-latte-bollocks-to-go. He'd be better off using the fucking cash to plug the £15 billion hole in their spending plans.
What's wrong with a good old fashioned cup of Yorkshire tea? I must drink at least 10 cups a day and so it's done me no fucking harm. Thank god Tony understands the photo opportunity benefits of a nice cup of tea in a station café in Northampton.

Note to CK. If you took a leaf out of my book and stayed off the booze maybe you wouldn’t stutter so much when answering simple questions regarding your tax policies.
And note to BBC. Stop mentioning Dr fucking Who in your election reports. It’s getting tedious you twats.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Britney Spears is pregnant. Hope Fiona isn’t reading this but am devastated!
Not that they have any bloody chance but the Liberal Democrats have finally launched their excuse of a campaign. Now that Charles Kennedy’s had a chance to wet his baby’s head. (With a bottle or two no doubt.) What a pile of CRAP. Maybe time to buy some more of those Garbage CDs. Shirley Manson couldn’t have timed her comeback better if I’d engineered it myself.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Evening spent at Calum and Rory’s school to open new sports hall with Clive Woodward and answer questions about forthcoming Lions New Zealand tour. Compared to Westminster press lobby piece of fucking cake. Years of practice choosing which questions to take obviously helpful!! Planning to have series of open house sessions in NZ and don’t need any of those Kiwi twats asking awkward questions especially if not doing well on the pitch. Also don’t need a bloody repeat of the Austin Healey/Matt Dawson farce that happened last time round.
Must find some time getting head round trys, conversions, sin bin etc as to be honest know fuck all about rugby. Suppose some would say I know fuck all about politics but haven’t done too badly on that score.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Persuaded my good mate Alex Ferguson to sign off a piece I wrote for him for Tony’s campaign diary. If we can’t get the Sun to come down off the fucking fence at least we can get to their readers through the back door and via football managers.

Remember well before the last election that there were rumours (Charlie Whelan was the source I believe) that I’d be out of a job before Tony left No 10 and I might end up working for Alex. How wrong there were! Tony’s still here, I’m still here and Alex is working for me!

Off to The Dorchester. Speaking at the Construction Products Association Annual Lunch.

Monday, April 11, 2005

After the Blackberry malarkey though I better show willing and make use of all this new technology. Sent email to Labour activists to remind them what a load of crap the Tory manifesto is. Read as follows:

"The Tory manifesto, the thinnest in history, confirms that the Tories intend to fight a totally negative, small bore campaign focusing on a series of negative messages and without even an attempt to put a positive vision for the future.

The Labour Party can still take nothing for granted,The Tories have a lot more money than we do. They have several newspapers led by the vile (interestingly an anagram of evil) Daily Mail willing to pour out free pro-Howard propaganda and ridiculous anti-Labour bile for them."

Are you thinking what we’re thinking? That they’re a washed up party with a washed up leader? Course you bloody are.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

No doubt you’ve all seen Anthony Minghella’s marvellous job of portraying GB and Tony as good friends and colleagues. Important that Tony’s unbelievers think GB has a chance after the election to lead the country so come May 5th they vote the right way and get Tony his 3rd term. Going to annoy the pants of journalists tomorrow by getting the lazy arses out of bed for a press conference at 7.20 am.
Bloody archaic formality of Tony being adopted by Sedgefield Consistuency Labour Party. Could have done without tearing all the way up there. Some joker asked Tony what would happen if his nomination was rejected to which his agent gave the perfectly scripted answer that there’d be a bit of problem as the literature is already printed. Bit of a problem? Fucking outrageous problem.

Friday, April 08, 2005

First time in ages had some time to myself – Fiona was out, the kids were at school and Tony was in Rome – so went for a run and then treated myself and got the bagpipes out. The kids hate me playing. Is really disappointing that none of them is interested. Love to bore them with stories of me busking around Europe when I used to get local journalists pissed so they’d write about me. Even played at David Miliband’s wedding. He knows who to appreciate in order to get ahead.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Could really have done without all the bloody fuss this weekend. However, will be good publicity for Tony to be seen with all the world’s leaders at the Pope’s funeral doing what he does best. Pictures are bound to be of him and Cherie with George rather than MD, CK or any of the other European idiots. Remind people how important he is.

Then back for the wedding which turns into more and more of a farce. Couldn’t help but laugh when I read about the Sun’s bomb stunt!! God knows why we need a Royal family anyway. Certainly not when we have great leaders like Tony. And Fiona and I have been perfectly happy without the need for marriage. Can’t understand why they asked for my advice and then didn’t take it. Maybe they wouldn’t have ended up in this mess that they’re in now.

Will spend a couple of days getting my head together for when the real hard work starts next week. Tony has a lot of local radio interviews lined up and I need to get him some bloody good sound bites. Sick of the press giving the fucking Tories decent headlines.
Poster campaign launched today. Compares GB with Letwin but more importantly Tony with MH. Do you really want the person who dreamt up the poll tax running the country?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Have obviously had a very busy few days, hence no posts.

However, you now know what you have to do to get Tony his third term. Don’t listen to all the bollocks from MH and focus on what is important. You are the boss after all.

Just need to get the next weekend out of the way so that the press can really start concentrating on us. Will endeavour to make more of an effort and keep you up to date with how things are going.