Are we seeing Philip Gould’s “shock and awe” strategy?

Are we seeing Philip Gould’s “shock and awe” strategy?


    Is Gordon following the plan of Blair’s former pollster?

The revelation in the Daily Mirror this morning of a 2005 paper written by the ex-Blair pollster and major architect of NuLab, Philip Gould, raises the questions – is Gordon following the strategy and, if so, does this provide further evidence that an early general election is on the cards?

Certainly what has happened in the past month seems to fit with what Gould was advising two years ago.

This is from the BBC report: “..In the leaked memo, Gould warned that the next election will be much tougher than the last for Labour. To hold on to – and improve – its majority, Labour needed “a bold election strategy designed to dramatically drive our vote up”.. “We have to have a strategy of audacious advance. The best way of achieving this is to hold an early election after a short period of intense and compelling activity.. You should own the future…A kind of ‘shock and awe strategy’ blasting through the opposition.”

“It is inconceivable that you will not enjoy a significant honeymoon when you become leader…You need to build on this and translate it into a new mandate. I am sure this strategy will work..You must start election planning early. We can’t leave it late as we did last time. We must make a start.”

Given the connotations of the term “shock and awe” from the opening days of the invasion of Iraq there could have been less controversial ways of describing what was being proposed – but it does get over the sense.

I don’t know whether Gould is advising Gordon on polling matters but my concern is that Labour’s current position is not as strong as perhaps it should be for the party to be certain of victory should the plan be to go early.

I should add that Gould is a great supporter of PBC and was a sponsor of the second site party.

Mike Smithson

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