It happened to Tony Blair, now it’s happened to Gordon Brown: a memo from Philip Gould has been leaked to the Daily Mirror. In the memo, apparently written before Brown took over from Blair, Philip Gould advises the Prime Minister to call an early poll.
In his ten-point plan Gould says the Prime Minister should portray himself as a "muscular" leader with a strategy of "audacious advance". He says:
"The best way of achieving this is to hold an early election after a short period of intense and compelling activity – 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."
He does make clear the problems that Labour face in the next election – warning that about 60% of voters want "dramatic change" – but tells Brown:
"You have to exemplify renewal, change, and a fresh start. Your Premiership has to have a dynamism and an energy that pulls people along in its slipstream. You must become the change Britain needs."
Gould warns Brown against emulating Blair saying: "It will not be enough just to be different to Tony. You should be identifying challenges and driving the nation forward to meeting them. You should own the future." He adds "When you become leader, you must unleash your power and energy and emerge as the compelling politician and person that you are. Your own distinctive charisma will then emerge."
He makes clear that a radical strategy of change is needed to increase Labour’s vote and identifies crime, terror and immigration as the main political issues, even more important than public services and the economy.
Telling Brown: "You should aim to be a great reforming PM." he says: "You must start election planning early. We can’t leave it late as we did last time. We must make a start."