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DAILY POST OUR VIEW: A fresh twist on spinning.

SO, IS the spinning really, finally, to stop - or is the Government simply putting a positive spin on the words of its critics?

Indeed, with its track record, can the Government now ever hope to rid itself of charges of manipulating news, even if it genuinely wants to?

By appearing to agree with Clare Short, No. 10 may be acknowledging belatedly that it has let down its supporters, the country at large and itself; on the other hand, it may be pedalling twice as fast.

Who can tell? Who is more believable than an apparently reformed penitent unless it is an experienced conman? The Government may not even know itself, so giddy has it become. Like an inveterate liar admitting to lying, what is one supposed to think? That they are telling the truth?

This is not to say that New Labour has achieved nothing of genuine and lasting worth. On the contrary, it has done much of which it should be proud and could deservedly claim credit. The irony is that the people most often credited with its success are those who have done it the most damage, whereas its true friends have regularly been cast aside and unforgivably smeared. Also, that if this Government manages to stop spinning entirely, it will not be governing - as we understand it - at all.

It is the preoccupation with image which has been truly disastrous, witness the dbcles over the appointments of the Welsh First Secretary and the Mayor of London. In trying to control the situation, Downing Street and its party machine merely lost control - an outcome blindingly obvious to all those except the spinners.

This fixation is manifested, too, in the nauseating need to appear trendy which has resulted in, say, the knighthood for Mick Jagger. Meanwhile, provided they look the part, businessmen of every shade of failure continue to be rewarded under this government and befriended by it.

No. 10 has kept faith with almost no-one of any substance, nor have people of quality generally been entrusted with jobs and allowed to get on with them. Too many Government spokespersons now appear indistinguishable from their Tory forerunners at their worst - glib, incompetent, deceitful, self-serving and arrogant.

It will take more than a promise to stop spinning to change this, but, if the warnings are truly believed and heeded, it will be a start. Otherwise, the days of New Labour are numbered, and Tony Blair's vision doomed.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 11, 2002
Words:407
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