24th Mar 2010

Dear Gordon…

Dear Gordon,

‘Staying the course’

I watched your Piers Morgan interview and concluded you now have a realistic chance of winning the election. 

You came across as a committed, capable and authentic leader; perhaps just the kind of person we want in charge during these troubled times. You also showed a deeply human side to your character when you told us your relationship with Sarah was ‘a great love story‘… changing the nation’s perception of you at a stroke.

Subsequent allegations about bullying shouldn’t harm your image because we can all see you are a serious if not slightly grumpy leader. Given the enormous pressures you must be under you can be forgiven for losing your temper once in a while.

No need to worry too much about the image thing then. We know what you are like and we don’t need you to change. And therein lies your greatest challenge: you are not ‘new’ and you cannot promise ‘change’.

So what should your campaigning strategy be and more importantly, if you do pull off a remarkable victory, how should you make the right leadership impact in your first 100 days of a new term?

How to win at the polls?

My advice would be to focus exclusively on a clear message of ‘staying the course’ emphasizing that now is not the time for change. This will counter the Tory’s rallying cry and build on the compelling catchphrase you have previously used ‘this is no time for a novice’.

All you then need to do is roll out the examples explaining why: the delicate economic revival, the importance of safeguarding front line public services, winning the war in Afghanistan…

So be bold and let the electorate have a straight choice between: ‘Staying the course with Gordon’ versus Cameron’s ‘time for change’.

How to win in your First 100 days?

Your first 100 days should be sober and steady state. If your campaign is won on a message of ‘staying the course’ then it naturally follows your first 100 days back in power should follow suit.

Your first 100 days’ report should demonstrate progress against existing initiatives and highlight your policy successes on economic growth, better public services and helping to make the country/world safer from terrorism. Your report should be an affirmation of what is already working and a confirmation the country is back on track with a promise of more good times ahead.

If you secure victory, you should talk with humility about a new beginning and promise a fresh start on leadership values and behaviors within the party, and a renewed commitment to ensuring the right leadership behaviours from all our politicians.

So I wish you good luck. Yes you have made mistakes. You haven’t always brought people with you or been as decisive as you could have been, but looking at the big picture it is clear you have grown as a leader since you first took the job.

Best of luck and remember to stay the course

With kind regards.

Niamh O’Keeffe

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