Alex Massie

Brown Healthwatch

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Good god, this is insane. PR Week reports:

Gordon Brown's latest comms offensive involves cold-calling members of the public who have written him letters, according to sources close to Downing Street.

The initiative is said to be the brainchild of Downing Street chief of strategy Stephen Carter and is intended to 'humanise' the Prime Minister as his popularity continues to wane.

'Carter thought it was a good idea to have Brown call people personally,' said one insider. 'Carter will choose a letter or email at random, have one of his team at Number 10 prepare a res­ponse, then get Brown to call.'

The move is an attempt to spread positive word of mouth for the PM, especially in the ­regions.

However, one of the first phone calls backfired spectacularly, according to one anecdote told to PRWeek.

'Brown made a phone call at 6am, without thinking,' said a well-placed Labour source. 'Luckily the person he called was a shift worker, so he was awake.'

At this rate we're going to have to start feeling sorry for Gordon. It's a pitiful scene: the Prime Minister jabbing away at a telephone keypad in the small hours, desperation and anger rising as he searches for someone, anyone, prepared to take his call. When did he become an unhinged, pop-eyed, vein-bulging loony of the sort that calls radio stations at 4am?

On the other hand, maybe George W Bush should try this too. Or they could call one another...

UPDATE: Of course, the single most popular thing Bush has done was setting up a national "Do No Call" database so people could enjoy their supper undisturbed by telemarketers. Clearly we need something similar to avoid being harassed by Gordon Brown.

UPDATE 2: "An attempt to spread positive word of mouth for the PM, especially in the regions." Because, yeah, folk outside London are particularly stupid and gullible...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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