By Paul Goodman
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Alastair Campbell gives David Cameron the following advice behind today's Times paywall, having claimed that Mr Cameron, who has come late to Twitter, thinks that he should get on television over every issue:
"On the contrary, he
should be setting his own agenda, on his own terms. Successful communication
becomes strategic, not tactical, depending on a consistent, authentic
message that speaks to core values and policies over time. It does not have
the Prime Minister popping up on the news every night to speak on his latest
“top priority” in which “I passionately believe”."
Mr Campbell will be remembered for embodying Spin, which may help to explain why he and New Labour did government no good whatsoever and incalculable reputational damage.
However, it doesn't follow that he is always spinning and thus always misleads. Mr Campbell is like Longfellow's little girl: when he is bad he is horrid, but when he is good, he is very, very good.
And since he now needs to be be dispassionate enough to be taken seriously as a commentator (and thus earn a living) he is very, very good on government and strategic communication.
His leitmotif about the Prime Minister has been that Downing Street, learning exactly the wrong lessons from the Blair years, has been insufficiently strategic and too tactical.
This is bang on the money, as is the line about Mr Cameron declaring too much to be a "top priority" and Number 10 not using new media skillfully.
If taking advice from this member of the Labour tribe is not to your taste, it may be worth recalling that Tim Montgomerie has given much the same counsel, especially about new media.