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Messages from the archive of Rutherford Hall, critical communications strategist

WhatsApp to Stephen: Fantastic job getting Oliver Dowden for our platinum client business dinner. I know Tory MPs are all looking to their post-government relationships but landing the deputy prime minister is a real coup. Small snag. None of the clients actually want to hear from him. They want Rachel Reeves or Wes Streeting or someone who’ll be big in the Labour government. Or Angela Rayner, perhaps. The CEOs have some weird kind of fascination with her. It’s not entirely healthy.

WhatsApp to Stephen: No we can’t just cancel him, especially if he hears that we’ve dumped him for someone in the shadow cabinet. He’s still the DPM. Can we offer him something else? Tell him we’ve got a Future of Britain event and that it would be a far greater coup to get him for that. 

WhatsApp to Stephen: I know we haven’t technically got a Future of Britain event. But if we want him to swap, I think you’ll find we have and that he’s the keynote speaker.

WhatsApp to Stephen: No luck on a shadow cabinet speaker!! I’m beginning to feel a bit exposed on Labour. I know we’ve hired a couple of ex-aides but I think I need to put some more work into my personal relationship. It’s too late to just worm our way in, we’re going to need something to offer. I need to get on one of their task forces, or policy groups. It’s time to leverage my expertise on AI in healthcare.

WhatsApp to Stephen: I know I don’t have any expertise. I’m going to leverage the fact that they don’t have any either.

WhatsApp to Susan: I want us to organise something really fast. An all-day/half-day session on AI in healthcare. A couple of experts in the field, someone from DeepMind or AlphaFold, an NHS strategy chief, a former health minister, a Labour one like Alan Milburn perhaps. Hang it on Hunt’s announcement of an NHS productivity plan. I want to turn their thoughts into a pamphlet. A manifesto for AI in the NHS; or maybe it’s the AINHS; the NAIHS? — seriously you can’t build an acronym with those letters. I don’t even think it’s a Wordle answer. I want something in the next couple of weeks.

WhatsApp to Wes Streeting and Peter Kyle: Hi Wes and Peter. It’s Rutherford Hall here, we met in Liverpool last autumn. Alan Milburn suggested I get in touch. Given your briefs in health and science, I just wanted to give you an early sight of a paper we are putting out — an AI manifesto for the NHS. We’ve called it Help is on the WAI. It’s something we have been putting a lot of thought into, but with the emphasis on first-term implementation. We are also planning a conference on this and I’d be thrilled you have you there. 

WhatsApp to Wes and Peter: Thank you very much. That’s great. You are right, we are really trying to think about delivery. It was something I focused on when I was in Downing Street — for the other team, I admit, but in a different world! And anyway this goes beyond party politics! So if there is any way I can help in the future, please let me know. 

WhatsApp to Stephen: Dowden wants to stick with the dinner? Damn. Do you think he’s looking for a job? Could we warn him Frank Hester might be there? OK, look, he could still be useful. We’ll have to do two dinners.

From: Rutherford@Monkwellstrategy

To: Platinumclientlist

I just want to share some news about a couple of upcoming events. We are thrilled to announce our platinum dinner guest speaker is Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister and a man who understands the government machine better than anyone. In or out of power, he’s an indispensable guide to the Whitehall maze. I’m also really excited to announce that those who are able to come will be invited to our new diamond dinner with Wes Streeting after our AI and healthcare conference. You asked for a key Labour figure and we have delivered the brightest light in their constellation.

I’ll also be sharing some insights from my time in Saudi while I’m back in Britain. It’s buzzing and you will really want to know about the opportunities there.


Are you ready to take your place in The Line?

Find me on Strava, KoM Sydenham Hill, PR Al Jubailah/Bawdah Loop — 42 mins

WhatsApp to WesPeter: Thanks. Of course there’s loads more things we didn’t have room for in the pamphlet. I’d be happy to come by the Commons and talk about them if it would be helpful.

WhatsApp to WesPeter: Tuesday at 4? Great. I was meant to be seeing Oliver Dowden then, but I’ll tell him something came up. 

Messages recovered by Robert Shrimsley


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