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More on Spin Doctors – Get Ready for the Night of the Plastic Knives

August 14, 2013

Following on my post about spin doctors a few days ago, all manner of hullabaloo is breaking out over the British Labour Party’s attempts to keep the “communications” pot boiling while the leader, Ed Miliband, is away on holiday. This time Sam Fleming in the London Times reports:

“Allies of Mr Miliband have said that too few Shadow Cabinet members were on hand to defend the party while he was on holiday in the South of France. The main contributions have come from figures still outside the Shadow Cabinet, including Chris Leslie, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Stella Creasy, a Shadow Home Affairs Minister, and Mr Bryant.

One Labour source said: “I think lots of Shadow Cabinet members think they won’t be around in their current jobs in a few weeks. This is the halfway point in a fixed-term parliament, so they have thought: ‘Why not? I’m going on holiday’.”

Another said that the leader’s office had failed to co-ordinate the summer media announcement “grid”, leaving most Shadow Cabinet ministers assuming that they had not been part of a careful plan. Some pointed to the way that Mr Miliband’s office had sent out an e-mail only a day or so before recess asking for holiday story ideas.

Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, and Liam Byrne, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, are thought to be among the most vulnerable in an impending reshuffle.”

Media announcement grid? Holiday story ideas? What kind of insane self- referencing box have these politicians placed themselves into? The British public will not be electing a new parliament for another two years, for goodness sake.  One would have thought that we all deserve a break from political “holiday stories”.

The world will not come to an end if the politicians and their spin doctors go off on holiday, and leave us in peace for a couple of weeks. If some great crisis occurs in the meanwhile, surely they will have laptops and phones?

And as for those who suspect that their number will soon be up, they can switch off their mobile phones too. The rest of us will not be gasping desperately for the lack of their pronouncements. We will be quite happy with the usual diet of silly season stories. Ice cream recipes, drunken celebs and fractious footballers will be a welcome relief from the usual fare of political axe-grinding.

In my previous post I expressed some sympathy with poor old Stephen Twigg, the shadow Education Secretary. I’m not sure whether The Times, that previously employed Michael Gove, the current minister, as a columnist, has got it in for Twigg.  Four days ago Rafael Behr anticipated his downfall. The prediction is repeated in Fleming’s piece. Surely not a coincidence. Which leads me to wonder who is briefing against the guy. Is Miliband’s office preparing us for an earth-shattering announcement?

My advice to Stephen Twigg, Liam Byrne and all the other Labour politicians facing imminent political demotion is go to Tuscany or Frinton-on-Sea for a couple of weeks, keep smiling and start dreaming of the fat consultancy fees to come.

Above all, don’t let the Tuckers get you down….

From → Media, Politics, UK

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