Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No spin is the new spin?

Plenty of lively debate over at Iain Dale's place over whether Gordon Brown attempted to strongarm the Sunday lobby into carrying the line about his terror crackdown without balancing comment from Nick Clegg and David Davis. Three experienced Sunday pol eds, Paddy Hennessy, Ian Kirby and Nick Watt, have vehemently denied the claims but the thread is well worth a read.

Whether it's true or not, I was equally concerned to read this story in the UK Press Gazette about a local reporter who was allegedly subjected to bully-boy tactics from one of Brown's minders.

I do hope that this isn't going to be the shape of things to come under Gordon. He has made very clear that it is his intention to lead a new style of government and, as I made clear in this post, if this is to mean anything it must entail an end to the spin culture.

The row over David Maclean's bid to exempt MPs from the Freedom of Information Act, which was enthusiastically backed by Nick "Newcastle" Brown and other high-profile Brown cronies, was not a good start on this score. Neither, if true, are the examples highlighted by Dale and the UKPG.

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Captain Spaulding said...

The real story is surely that Gordo has pre-empted Reid's statement about security, due on Thursday. The future PM had to show that he, rather than a retiree, is in charge of anti-terrorist strategy.

Bryan McGrath said...

Brown is not Sleeping Beauty awoken with a kiss to find the kingdom in decline. He has been at the centre of events for ten years and, in my opinion, incapable of change. He is a Stalinist, look no further than way he closed down the leadership contest by arm twisting well over 300 Labour MPs into nominating him.
This demonstrates that Labour MPs are wimps and Brown is a bully in the manner of Stalin, needing massive support in order to prop up a flawed personality.

Splashitallover said...

Bryan McGrath - Arm twisting over 300 MPs. A bit like saying that your team lost by 12 lucky goals! Isn't it more likely that he's just the best candidate? Everyone knew the rules, everyone had plenty of time to organise and Brown just won. He even had to beat off the power of Blair's patronage for 13 years as leader. Maybe he just is the best candidate?

Also, Paul, you use the phrase "Brown's minders" in your piece. Given the context, it could be read as implying that one of Brown's spin-doctors physically manhandled someone. I note that Brown's office denies that the person was directly associated with the entourage in the piece you link to, so it's hard to see how he could be one of "Brown's minders". Or maybe I'm just being too snippy?

MorrisOx said...

Do you not think, Paul, that in believing that a 'new style of government' is possible you are letting the wish be the father of the thought?

I'd sincerely love to live in a world where politicians paid out of the public purse knew they were duty-bound to make themselves available to answer questions asked on the public's behalf.

You and I both know that world - if it ever existed - disappeared long ago, and that the moment a coming man enters a ministry is the moment he leaves the public behind.

The utter brutishness of modern politics, its cynically-calculatd moral equivalency, and the replacement of dedicated technocrats by ruthless placemen is pretty depressing as it is.

Believing that Broon is likely to take anything less than a calculating approach is likely to be more depressing still.

Stephen Rouse said...

There was a young lady of Kent
Who said she knew what it meant
When gentlemen asked her to dine,
Gave her roses and wine
She knew what it meant - but she went!

For all their complaining about the spin culture, many in the media have always been entirely complicit in it. As a result, we get Government press releases masquerading as Sunday paper "exclusives". Journalists could kill spin tomorrow by refusing to go along to the unattributable briefings but I suspect, like the Young Lady, they will keep going back for more.

Bryan McGrath said...

Well splashitallover, candidate, candidate, were did I here that word before? I think it implies someone seeking an office or honour. Perhaps that describes the rag tag and bobtail collection of political junkies a.k.a. Labour Deputy Leadership Candidates. Strangely the only two candidates for the Labour Leadership were an embittered ex-minister and a complete outsider with no hope of ministerial office: both were prevented from even a token election by the war machine of Stalin a.k.a. The Smith Institute. Incidentally I would suspect John Smith will be spinning in his grave at the way his prodigies have turned out. Something about "Power corrupts absolute power..." comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely no surprise with the Ian Dale article,it just confirms what is already public knowledge,that Brown is a control freak,so why any surprise at his attempts to control the media and steal someone else's idea?