Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Old News & Non-News

While the big story of the last two days has been the sentencing of the 21/7 failed bombers, Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell has certainly stolen the limelight. Despite most media outlets agreeing that the most revealing bits are those that are glaringly absent, the bones of each entry are being picked over for tit-bits that inform us of the machinations between Brown and Blair.

What do we learn? Well given Campbell's colourful references to journalists and politicians he is a lot closer in character to The Thick Of It's Malcolm Tucker that most perhaps hoped. That the Blair machine was often running a seat of the pants, pragmatic and ready at panic stations media operation; obsessed with getting the right coverage and the image thing. But perhaps relations within the government were no different to disagreements within the cabinets of Wilson or Thatcher, all of which gained media attention and have subsequently emerged in various, perhaps more revealing, insider accounts.

The great irony about the story is that many newspaper columnists and broadcasters are happy to accept there is little that is new or revealing, but they then give it huge amounts of airtime and column inches. The only winner from this is Campbell himself. While it may not be damaging to the government specifically, it is more fuel to the mistrust and cynicism that abounds when the masses thinking of politicians and political communication.

The Conservatives, according to the Independent, have "issued a statement including 15 extracts they said showed Mr Brown in an unfavourable light", I tried to find it and failed! Will it have any impact, no more than the Panorama show that detailed Brown's use of spin I imagine.

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