Alex Massie

Good news for Gordon!

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At least one person thinks he can still win! This man

is on much more comfortable ground discussing his work with overseas politicians, including his contributions to Blair's 2005 campaign, which include dreaming up the slogan "Forward Not Back"*. "Part of the reason I've been so successful in so many different foreign countries," he says, "has been that I'll come to people who are locked into a world that they see only from their political context ... and be able to say 'No, no, no - let's take a look at the numbers.'" He seems remarkably sanguine about the current prime minister's problems. "Look, obviously, Labour and Gordon Brown are in a tough spot," he says. "But these are situations that he has time to work out before a scheduled election ... Oftentimes, these [tough spots] can be a spur to taking the kind of action that's ultimately successful. There's plenty of time." Take a hard-headed, numbers-based approach to the way society and the economy are changing, he insists, and you'll see that "the changes should favour Labour over a return to the Tories".

Unfortunately for Gordon, this is Mark Penn speaking. If Penn really takes this Pollyannaish view of Labour's prospects then, frankly, no-one should ever hire him again. Maybe the "numbers" really do point to this (though I doubt it) but that's not what people are telling pollsters. And numbers don't vote. Equally, Labour will have been in power for 13 years when an election is held in 2010, ensuring that if David Cameron is less unelectable than Neil Kinnock there's a pretty good chance he'll be the next Prime Minister. Voters will want change - a concept Penn still seems to discount, despite his recent experiences in the United States.

*Granted it pays tribute to Blair's hatred of verbs, but was there ever a lamer political slogan than this?

[Via Three Line Whip]

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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