Jackie Ashley: political strategist
Jackie Ashley, June 2009: "what is silly is to imply that Labour would not make cuts or that they would not have to raise taxes for ordinary families...Better to admit the obvious and draw clear lines between Labour policies and Tory ones. There is a sensible, grown-up argument to be had, and it's one that Labour could end up winning."
Labour followed Jackie's advice. So how did that strategy end up working out?
Conservative Home, September 2009, "It's certainly now much easier for the Conservative government to make cuts. Labour has provided cover and, deliciously, Ed Balls has started the process."
Matthew d'Ancona, September 2009, "What the PM has achieved is remarkable, nonetheless. He has decontaminated the very word he so successfully drenched in ugliness and horror. For more than a decade it was brave at best, and sometimes politically suicidal, to declare oneself a "cutter". That was thanks to Gordon Brown. With bleak symmetry, it is he who has declared an end to this once-robust consensus. It is he who has given "permission" for others to argue for much deeper cuts."
Conservative Home, September 2009, "George Osborne is now determined to blame tax rises on Labour, too. This is Phase II of the Tory campaign. Phase I has seen all the parties become cutters. CCHQ now want the need for tax rises to be conceded too."
And the subject of Jackie Ashley's column today? The need for Labour to set out its plans for tax rises.
Here's a tip for Ashley's future columns on political strategy - next time don't write a newspaper article about how Labour would be more popular if they did what George Osborne wants them to do.