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Philip Gould

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Philip Gould

For other people named Philip Gould, see Philip Gould (disambiguation).
Philip Gould
Baron Gould of Brookwood
Born (1950-03-30)30 March 1950
Died 6 November 2011(2011-11-06) (aged 61)
Royal Marsden Hospital
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality British
Education East London College
Alma mater
Occupation Political consultant
Spouse(s) Gail Rebuck

Philip Gould, Baron Gould of Brookwood (30 March 1950 – 6 November 2011[1][2]) was a British political consultant, and former advertising executive, closely linked to the Labour Party. Appointed by Director of Communications Peter Mandelson, he was strategy and polling adviser to the Labour Party[3] in the general elections of 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2005. Involved in 'modernising' the party's image, Gould was particularly connected with Tony Blair and New Labour.

Early life and education

Gould grew up in Woking, where his father was a headmaster, but failed his 11-plus and went to a Secondary modern school. Leaving school with only one O-level, he went on to study at East London College, based in Toynbee Hall, where he gained four A-levels. He subsequently won a place at the University of Sussex in 1971 to study politics, graduating in 1974.[4] Gould then went to the London School of Economics to study for an MSc in the history of political thought, where he was taught by the political scientist Michael Oakeshott. Later he returned to the LSE to teach a course in Politics and Communication.


After a career in advertising, and with the success of his wife Gail Rebuck (later CEO of Random House UK), whom he had met at Sussex, Gould founded his own polling and strategy company, Philip Gould Associates, in 1985. Appointed by Mandelson, Gould recruited the Shadow Communications Agency, a team of communication volunteers, who created Labour's unsuccessful 1987 election campaign. This led to his position of influence within the Labour Party under Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair.

He was the writer of a leaked memo which, in 2000, described the New Labour brand as being contaminated.[5]

On 7 June 2004 he was made a life peer as Baron Gould of Brookwood, of Brookwood in the County of Surrey.[6]

Preceding an interview with Andrew Marr on a Sunday morning BBC TV show, 18 September 2011, it was revealed that his treatment for three-times recurring cancer of the oesophagus had been unsuccessful. After being told by his doctor that he only had three months to live, Gould described himself as being in the "death zone":
This time it was clear. I was, you know... I was in a different place, a death zone, where there was such an intensity, such a power. And apparently this is normal. And so, even though obviously I'd, you know, rather not be in this position, it is the most extraordinary time of my life, certainly the most important time of my life.[7]
Gould then turned his impending death into a campaign as a way of making his departure easier for his wife and daughters as well as helping others by writing and talking about facing up to death.[8] His efforts resulted in an eight–minute film entitled, When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone,[9] a documentary of Gould's final weeks of life that was released on the video–sharing website YouTube before the release of his book by the same name.[10]

Gould died on 6 November 2011 at Royal Marsden Hospital,[11] a specialist cancer treatment hospital in London, England. It has been stated that proceeds from his 2012 book, When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone, will go to the National Oesophago–Gastric Cancer Fund and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.[10] Before he died, Gould stated that he will be cremated and his urn interred at Highgate Cemetery.


  • Gould, Philip (1999). The Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party Abacus, ISBN 0-349-11177-4
  • Gould, Philip (2012). When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone Little Brown, ISBN 978-1-4087-0398-4




External links

  • C-SPAN
  • Internet Movie Database
  • WorldCat catalog)
  • Template:Guardiantopic
  • Documentary on Gould final weeks of life:
  • Portrait photographed by National Gallery in London

Template:New Labour

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