A few days after Philip died, my partner Fiona asked me what I found myself remembering more: Philip the political colleague or Philip the personal friend? I took a few moments to allow snapshots and images to flood into my mind … Philip announcing his presence in Labour election campaign HQ, coat and briefcase flapping, thought for the day emerging from his mouth, before spilling his vitamin pills all over my desk; Philip at a football match missing a goal because he was texting the Sunday Times trying to get an early shout on their poll figures; Philip phoning just before midnight from Huddersfield or Watford or Oldham or Corby to tell me how the focus groups had gone; Philip juggling huge quantities of meat on a holiday barbecue whilst setting out where he felt New Labour was going right, and where we were going wrong; Philip sitting down to tell Tony Blair that the speech he was due to deliver in a few hours had ‘lost the plot’; Philip working with me to try to get Tony and Gordon Brown working together better; Philip failing to pronounce French place-names, and not doing much better with quite a lot of English ones; Philip refusing to let me leave a restaurant on holiday until we have come up with a better strapline for the party conference; Philip in the back of the car we shared to work hundreds of times, the conversation careering from politics to sport, work to family, serious to funny … I found myself replying to Fiona: ‘I find them inseparable, Philip the colleague and Philip the friend.’
KeywordsFocus Group Brick Wall Labour Party Saturday Morning Personal Friend
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