Philip Gould was the unsung hero of New Labour. Possessing a unique understanding of people, he was able to get to the heart of their hopes, fears and aspirations. The intelligence he gathered from polls and focus groups was utterly crucial to the project both in terms of presentation and policy.
When I die is his personal account of his battle with Cancer. A battle he tragically lost. Far from being depressing however (though, take it from me, it is not something to read on the tube) this is an uplifting and inspiring book full of hope and promise.
By choosing to accept that death will come to him Gould releases both himself and those around him, making their final weeks together ones of joy and intimacy rather than despair and solitude.
Perhaps most impressive is that first him then, in his final days, his daughter manage to capture every moment and emotion in words so that we can share in it.
It finishes with an e-mail from Alastair Campbell to Philip, written just a few days before his death. In it Campbell quotes The Queen, from a speech first spoken in the days after 9/11
“Grief is the price we pay for love”
Go read it now.