Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Spinning the Discussion About Spin: Former government information service employee and later deputy director of communications for the Labour Party Lance Price uses the columns of The Guardian to bemoan the fact that “spin has become a term of political abuse to be used against Blair’s Labour party just as ‘sleaze’ was used to such effect against the Tories under John Major.

“As a result, perfectly honourable people find themselves traduced for the sins of others. The innocent victims are hard-working civil servants doing a necessary and unglamorous job.” (The piece if part of mediaguardian, which requires registration but is free.)

Responding to yet another attack on government spending on communications, Price makes all the necessary points. “Take the Central Office of Information, whose PR budget “soared” to £322m last year. Much of that money was spent, we are told, advertising flagship policies such as tax credits and extra help for pensioners. Since when was it ‘spin’ to inform the less well-off in society of the benefits to which they are entitled in the hope that they will claim their due…

“How many calls, I wonder, have government press officers had to field in the past 24 hours demanding to know why there are so many press officers? The public has a right to know what the government is doing in its name, and Whitehall has a duty to provide that information. The figures on which the Tories based their attack were provided by the very people they chose to malign. They would have been justifiably outraged if they couldn't get the answers they wanted.”

But the comments posted at the end of the story make it clear that most readers aren’t buying Price’s, err, spin.

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