Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website
The answer to my question has to be a resounding ‘No’. In many ways the presentation of the emergence and then early months of the coalition government has been a master class in commanding the news agenda. But there is one very big difference between the combined spin operation of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats when compared with that of New Labour. Where they differ is in the way the coalition has been able to discipline itself, how it has managed to avoid, at least for its first four months in office, the divisive anonymous briefings which from the very start of Tony Blair’s leadership proved so debilitating for the Labour Party and later the Labour government.  

Instead of focussing so much on possible causes of his loss of life, campaigners for a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly should be concentrating their attention on trying to establish exactly what happened before his final, fatal walk in the Oxfordshire countryside. Fresh light has been cast on the events that morning in July 2003 and it does suggests the Hutton Inquiry skated over the timeline of precisely who said what and to whom in the hours before the Iraq weapons inspector left home.

Any suggestion that the Prime Minister’s headline-grabbing remarks about Gaza and Pakistan were slips of the tongue by an uncontrolled ‘loudmouth’ could not be further from the truth.

Coalition government has not put an end to political spin but so far the Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration has been refreshingly free of an over-arching concentration on media presentation.  David Cameron and Nick Clegg have been as resolute as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in their determination to command the news agenda while not allowing their urge to manipulate the media to become an obsession. 

If ever an anti-spin award is introduced for public servants, perhaps the first recipient should be General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British Army, who is currently the target of a New Labour campaign of vilification.  Once Labour’s leading apologist, Lord Foulkes, entered the fray and started parroting the anonymous smears of the Blair-Brown spin machine, General Dannatt must have known he had finally made his mark.

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