The Top Ten: Political operations

From Margaret Thatcher's funeral to the Bank of England's secret analysis of the economic consequences of Britain leaving the EU

John Rentoul@JohnRentoul
Saturday 13 February 2016 09:41
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Operation True Blue: Whitehall plan for Margaret Thatcher's funeral
Operation True Blue: Whitehall plan for Margaret Thatcher's funeral

Margaret Beckett, in her report on Labour's defeat, recommended that the shadow cabinet should hold its meetings outside London. Patrick Kidd pointed out that not only did Gordon Brown do that with the real Cabinet, but William Hague did it first with his shadow cabinet, when it was called Operation Starburst.

1. Operation True Blue

Whitehall plan for Margaret Thatcher's funeral. Andy Burnham complained it was too political, says Asa Bennett.

2. Operation Teddy Bear

John Birt's plan for Tony Blair to split the Treasury and curb Brown's power in 2003. Recalled by Jon B.

3. Operation Honey Badger

Dan Jarvis's 2011 by-election campaign, named after a fierce carnivore with few natural predators. Nominated by Jack Tindale, who worked on it.

4. Operation ROBOT

Rejected plan for a floating exchange rate, 1952, named after Treasury officials Sir Leslie ROwan, Sir George BOlton and OTto Clarke. Pound finally floated in 1972.

5. Operation Undecided

Scottish Labour's plan, in April 2015, to switch focus from independence "Yes" voters to general election don't-knows. "Was this the least inspiring title ever?" asks Richard Burtle.

6. Operation Manatee

"Who can forget the Lib Dems' spectacularly successful digital ad blitz in the last 72 hours of the 2015 election campaign?" asks Tom Hamilton.

7. Operation Sunrise

William Hague's 1998 attempt to unite the Conservatives on Europe by balloting party members on the policy of ruling out the euro for one parliament. From Asa Bennett again.

Project Cake: Name given to the internal Labour operation on the Blair-Brown handover (Getty)

8. Operation Hoover

Philip Gould's code name for Tony Blair's overtures to Paddy Ashdown, aimed to "clean up" Lib Dem voters. Thanks to Andrew Grice.

9. Project Cake

Name given to the internal Labour operation on the Blair-Brown handover. Mr Memory remembered it so you didn't have to.

10. Operation Bookend

Bank of England's secret (until it emailed The Guardian by mistake) analysis of the economic consequences of Britain leaving the EU. Via Asa Bennett.

Next week: Titles that give away the ending (such as 'Finding Nemo')

Coming soon: Obsolete technology clichés (such as 'Stay tuned'). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to top10@independent.co.uk

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