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Arment Dietrich

Oi! Spin Sucks!

By: Arment Dietrich | May 3, 2007 | 
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Former Prime Minister John Major writes in the Times of London a lamentation of the Labour party, whose figurehead, Tony Blair, is conceding leadership this summer.  It’s been a decade since Blair took the helm, and Major, from the Conservative party, is calling shenanigans.

Major decries the empty sloganeering of Labour (bold is mine):

Elsewhere, as the Home Office staggers from blunder to blunder, “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” has disappeared from the ministerial vocabulary.  As for Labour being “whiter than white”, events have proved otherwise. These fatuous slogans resonate in the ears of voters.

So does the Government’s conduct.  Politicising the Civil Service; deleting e-mails; massaging figures; manipulating facts; “burying bad news”; presenting – and I put this more gently than Labour deserve – one-sided cases to the public, even on taking this nation to war; all this is more disreputable than anything we have seen before from a modern British government.

Yikes. 

What is it that makes organizations, be it government or other, think it’s okay to sweep stuff under the rug?  Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t get it.  Why put yourself in a position to lie?  Maybe it’s the bottom line, maybe you’re a habitual liar (not you, dear reader!).  I dunno.

Still, Major is having none of it.  The bold is mine.

Spin – putting a gloss on events – is as old as politics itself . . . but it’s gone too far.  Spin today is often downright deceit. For all its faults, old Labour had a soul; new Labour only has sound-bites and apparatchiks, careless of constitutional proprieties, who will use any unscrupulous trick to benefit the Government.

You’ve got to think that most companies have – or had at one time – a soul.  Sometimes, things get in the way of a corporate mission and it all, well, spins away.

Cheers to Major for standing up against spin (even though there’s no way we can claim even a little bit of expertise on spin in British politics.  It sure is fun to watch on CSPAN, though).