Worm, Inch - Futures delivery taskforce
THAT THINKING FEELING: It's a bit weird sometimes, just me and Sandra left in this big echoing think tank. Every morning we're expecting Departmental Head of Intelligence Stephen to walk in with a grim smile on his face and a couple of binbags. He's already given us the Departmental Consensus: an in-house think tank is beginning to look like a luxury "unless you can THINK a General Election victory for us, eh?" We're wondering if that was a cue, an ultimatum: think or swim.
UNSINKABLE: We need to focus on a clever election strategy, but Sandra has a very distracted look. Every 20 minutes her mobile goes and she moves away to take the call, rarely saying more than "right", "yes" and "mm". If I casually ask if everything's OK she avoids eye contact and mumbles something about her Dad's angina. Bullshit. She's up to something. I remind her that we ARE the Futures Delivery Taskforce and so, technically, tasked with Delivering Futures. Of COURSE an election win for Ballsy's lot is unthinkable. But that's exactly what we're paid to think: the unthinkable. However ludicrous or unworkable our ideas might be. If it's impossible to carry out, it's impossible for us to get the blame for it.
LIGHTWEIGHT: Luckily for Ballsy, the five-set political tennis match is still in its early stages. Neither side's serving up policy aces, it's all about unforced errors. Cameron and The Gove are making as many gaffes as Ballsy and Browny. It was fortunate for instance that Ballsy forgot to finish his sentence in that speech when he said it was vital for the state to recognise that good families came "in all shapes and sizes". It went on: "... in the same way you get schools with fat kids and teachers, anorexics and all sorts, which reminds me. Maybe I should spend less time at the coalface and more time on the treadmill, ha ha!"
FAMILY BUSINESS: Then Cameron waded into the family debate. The moisturised clot complained that in some parts of Britain children were "more likely to see their dad drunk than doing a day's work". It was easy for the Department to brief against him, pointing out that he seemed to be encouraging truancy. Anyway, it's becoming clear that trying to win votes on the basis of Labour's education record is a non-runner. Our best bet is for the Conservatives to stumble and fall. And we can't "think" them into doing that, can we, Sandra?
SANDRA?: "Right". Are you even listening? "Yes". These calls, are they from Bryony Bloody Stamp at Team Gove trying to poach you from the Department? "Mm". I'm suddenly very emotional and upset. Why Sandra and not ME? Inchworm.