Monday, 24 January 2011

Downing Street should be a borgo not a bunker

As I was surveying the scene from an Italian hilltop borgo: views for miles across vineyards, olive groves and truffle country the news of Andy Coulson's resignation reached me. Tuscany is littered with similar hilltop hamlets built using the natural environment so the lord of the manor could easily view his estate - and defend his people - by seeing any coming danger well before it threatened his livelihood.

I'm aware that those in Downing Street who worked closely with Andy Coulson feel hurt and upset that he has resigned. They believe it unfair but, while not inevitable, this resignation has been a possibility for quite some time. The sense of shock felt in Downing Street should, as a result, hopefully be reduced and the team then won't adopt an 'us against them' mentality which could become damaging for this coalition government.

At present the Coulson resignation is an unwanted issue that has caused limited damage to the government. If those in Downing Street don't react in the right way it could escalate into a full blown crisis. It is important that decisions are made with a clear head taking a considered view of what is right for communicating this government's agenda. They cannot play the blame game or look for ways to score points against those who worked to undermine Coulson.

The Italian borgo I visited had far reaching views to Pisa and the sea. It wasn't designed as a place to shrink away but instead to see and be seen. It is time for Downing Street to take a collective breath, and a step back to survey the scene from a hilltop and not a deep rutted valley.

In doing so, just like the Italian lords of the manor, they will help to protect the wider project and not repeat the mistakes of the Brown years, when Downing Street was more like Hitler's Berlin bunker than a sunny Tuscan hilltop.  


  1. Why don't you give Dave a call. Think you'd be great!

  2. It needs a return to decent values in Downing Street. Spin is too much like what we saw under Blair and Campbell. You always have good ideas - why did you ever leave the Party? Surely they could scrape up enough money to tempt you back?


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