A rare political strategist in the American mould

Clinton campaign role points way, writes Donald Macintyre
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The Independent Online
Philip Gould, the quietly spoken 45-year-old author of the memorandum explosively leaked on Monday, is a rare phenomenon on the British left.

A political consultant on the US model, Mr Gould is a strategist with expertise in polling and communications techniques. However, he has also been a committed Labour supporter since joining in his teens.

He worked for the Clinton campaign for six crucial weeks up to the presidential election and returned to write a seminal paper read avidly by Labour's modernisers which compared the success of the Clinton campaign with the failures of Labour's campaign in 1992.

One of many aspects of that paper which crop up in the March document was the term "rebuttal" - the constant challenging of negative campaigning by your opponents. He is also one of the most sophisticated organisers of "focus group" polling - the kind of qualitative research in which groups of sampled voters talk about their hopes and fears.

He was one of the original "beautiful people" about whom John Prescott used to complain and he shares with Tony Blair the family life of the upwardly mobile middle class.

He bowed out from advertising after starting his own successful agency. Now he continues to run focus groups for the US Democrats and has had a heavy workload working for left-wing parties in Europe. But the work for Labour is certainly his first love.

He made up for leaving school early. After working for a building society he went to Sussex University to read politics, the LSE, where he took a master's degree, and the London Business School