Posts Tagged ‘special advisers’

Tom Watson’s anatomy of a Downing St spin day

29/10/2010, 12:05:43 PM

Yesterday, we were opaquely conned.  Downing Street heralded a “forging ahead in the transparency agenda.” We were misled.

“This is the first time any government has proactively published information on special advisers’ gifts and hospitality. All this information is being published quarterly which will mean more regular and up to date information”, said Downing Street.

The rhetoric was soaring; the action was far more subterranean.

What actually happened was a cynical, but well executed spin exercise to kill the story and deflect attention on to the last Labour government – with Downing St spinners taking lobby journalists for patsies.

The statements were delayed – the first to be published was a statement on the cost of government cars for the last financial year of the Labour government. The next statement was not released for three hours.

Then the number 10 spin machine kicked into overdrive. The information about Labour special advisors for the last 12 months of the last Labour government was placed in the House of Commons library – great, transparent, easy to access. What about the statements on Tory and Lib Dem advisers, where were they? Well they were tucked away online, hidden from view, released in dribs and drabs.

PA led with the easy to find Labour information, comparing figures on the number of advisors. Cameron has reduced the number they say, or has he just moved the goal posts? How many lackeys from CCHQ have now found their way on to the civil service payroll?


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Hopi Sen asks the leadership bright boys some hard questions

20/05/2010, 09:52:52 AM

In the leadership election campaign, there will be a lot of talk of telling ourselves “uncomfortable truths”. Quite often, these “uncomfortable truths” will be a rhetorical trick to tell the audience what it wants to hear. Like that it’s all someone else’s fault, or that the party lost its way and got out of touch.

So I thought we should perhaps make a habit of proposing some uncomfortable truths that the Labour party, and even the candidates themselves, really don’t want to hear.

Here are two to start us off.

Don’t throw the machine away. Mend it.

The current crop of leadership contenders are the products of the most ferociously successful political machine in Labour party history. It was a machine that won three general elections, reduced the old left of the Labour party to irrelevance and made the country we live in a fairer, more open and safer place to live.

These are not bad things. (more…)

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