Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stepping aside with dignity. Or perhaps not.

As the pressure mounts on Tony Blair to step down, or at least name a date when he intends to do so, The Daily Mirror has published an excruciating and, frankly, hilarious memo which, they claim, originates from the prime minister’s advisors. This memo details the action plan that will kick in during the build up to his handover of power. The BBC has summarised the main points of the leak and it is a veritable mine of comic gold.

So without further ado, let’s go through some of the best pieces of this document, offering advice and comment as we do so. Because it’ll be fun, and I’ve got little else to do this evening…

Time is not an unlimited commodity. His genuine legacy is not the delivery, important though that is, but the dominance of new Labour ideas ... the triumph of Blairism.
Unbelievable pomposity. My jaw is agape. Very astute observation about time, though. For it is, indeed, not an unlimited commodity. At least, not in politics. Although it is infinite, according to Einstein. But we won’t nit pick.

As TB enters his final phase he needs to be focusing way beyond the finishing line, not looking at it.
And don’t forget to think outside the box while you’re at it, TB. Then stop to pick the low hanging fruit. Ah, platitudes. Platitudes and clichés. You can’t beat them.

He needs to go with the crowds wanting more. He should be the star who won't even play that last encore. In moving towards the end he must focus on the future.
I can’t improve on this one.

As much as possible a farewell tour, looking to the future, making sure the party is in the right place and the public remember him as he should be.
Looking to the future. Again. And it should be like a farewell tour – perhaps with Elton John? But remember the point above: no encore.

He needs to embrace open spaces, the arts and businesses, he needs to be seen to be travelling on different forms of transport. He needs to be seen with people who will raise eyebrows.
How, exactly, does one embrace an open space? Actually, let’s not linger on that one. Different forms of transport... A bus, a moped, a skateboard? How about a camel? Be seen with people who will raise eyebrows? Peter Sutcliffe, perhaps? That would certainly raise a few eyebrows. Roller blading with Osama Bin Laden. A candlelit dinner with Gary Glitter, followed by dancing. These would all be remembered, I assure you.

He needs to travel around the UK to be carefully positioned as someone who while not above politics, is certainly distancing himself from the political village.
By all means travel around the UK, but don’t forget that earlier commitment to embracing open spaces while you’re at it. But while you’re embracing those open spaces you have to distance yourself from the political village. Got that? Good.

He should be dropping references in all that he does which reflect his energy and enthusiasm.
OK Tone, to summarise thus far: you need to embark on that farewell tour (but no encore!), travelling by camel in tandem with Peter Sutcliffe (must raise eyebrows!). All the while, you have to embrace open spaces while distancing yourself from the political village. But is the political village surrounded by embraceable open spaces? We'll check that out. Anyway, when you’ve done all that, drop some references that demonstrate your commitment to the future. While not forgetting the past. And perhaps a quick nod to the present, too. But then back to the future. Hang on, that was a film. Scrap that. Oh, and keep those energy levels up, especially as you’re looking beyond the finishing line. Jesus, this is getting confusing.

While we need to do what is required to defend the government and ensure a clarity of message, we should not be drawn into hand-to-hand combat.
Oh, I disagree. I think hand-to-hand combat is the way to go. Remember: you want to raise eyebrows. So be seen with Osama Bin Laden, then take him on in hand-to-hand combat. When you’re done there, you should twat Gordon Brown live on television, then walk off camera. But don’t walk back on – must remember that “no encore” rule...

Another gem is the proposal to have Mr Blair appearing on high profile shows: Blue Peter, Songs of Praise, the Chris Evans radio show. This is the problem: these advisors appear to be trapped in a time where Tony Blair and Chris Evans are both popular. I believe most people would agree that such a time was…. 1996.

How genuine this leaked memo is, I have no idea. It reads like something Gordon Brown’s camp has put together for a laugh. The scary thing is, I would be no more or less surprised to know that it is completely authentic. Still, it gave us a few laughs, whatever its origin.

Dear oh dear Tony. Who are you surrounded by? When you do go, don’t listen to any of this tosh. Remember: all farewells should be sudden and if you follow this advice you will be a laughing stock for the rest of your days. Just say goodbye, and walk away with some remnants of dignity. You don’t really care about the Labour Party anyway, especially now that even your own loyalists are turning on you like wolves. This is all going to be Gordon Brown’s problem soon and you should leave him to it. Given that he’s going to inherit a country in recession, facing a resurgent Conservative Party rejuvenated under Cuddly Dave Cameron, he doesn’t stand a chance anyway. Leave, write your memoirs, be a grumpy backbencher, earn a fortune on the speeches circuit. Just don't let yourself be stage managed like a fading boy band.


Anonymous said...

I disagree Sane. I want the twat to be stage managed into oblivion, just like he has been stage managed through 10 years of government. Whats the phrase? Hoist by his own petards? He took spin-doctoring to a new level so I would love it if it ends up making 'his legacy' look pathetic.


Citizen Sane said...

Yeah, I'm just saying that, from his own perspective, he should be ignoring this piffle. I don't particularly care either way. When Blair goes we get Brown. Then we may or may not get Cameron.

If you think the stage management and spin doctoring is going to be any different under either, you're sadly mistaken.

Plus ça change, as they say in France.

Colin Campbell said...

Dispatch him to Basra to run the Iraq reconstruction. There are lots of open spaces there. It will keep his unruly kids off alcohol and Cherie can wash the dishes in a Burqua

ph said...

Vindication at last, I have detested the man ever since he was detected by the ph radar sometime in the early 90's. The intervening years have been hard, as even the most well balanced have worshipped at his feet. I do not claim to be a sage, it is just that Blair was so like a boy I knew at school, a boy that was also thoroughly detestable. (I am ashamed to say he was the only person I ever hit - he tried to hit me first, but missed).
I am intrigued to know why you think we are heading for a recession. As you are a denizen of the City, I await your sage words with fevered anticipation

Citizen Sane said...

Good use of the word 'denizen' there PH. One of my favourite words.

Recession? Well, as ever, fingers point to our cousins across the pond and there are a number of factors to suggest that a recession might be imminent there. And what happens there generally spreads over here soon after ("when America sneezes, Europe gets a cold", etc).

The biggest flashing red light (according to many) is the inverted yield curve, which means that long term interest rates are lower than short term interest rates. This is not what you would expect in an efficiently running economy. After all, who in their right mind would want to expose themselves to greater risk for lesser return? The majority of recessions over the last century were pre-empted by this phenomenon. The inverted yield curve is often seen as a predictor for recession for a simple reason: if long term rates are lower than short term rates, then the market is widely predicting falling short term rates. What would make short term rates fall? The Federal Reserve cutting rates. Why would they need to do that? To generate growth.

Additionally, there has been a slump in the housing market, rises in reposessions, escalating costs of oil and gas which in itself is inflationary, necessitating interest rate rises which puts a bigger squeeze on manufacturing and individual debt. Not to mention the US national debt which currently stands at $8.5 trillion.

Anyway, it's a viewpoint. Could be completely wrong. Personally, I think it's all the work of wizards.