Categories: Political spin / Trust and reputations
12 April 2009
Only New Labour thought there’d be mileage in gossip
Message to Damian McBride and the remaining Labour Party spin-machine: Barack Obama, arguably the most respected politician on earth, said of himself: “Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man . . . I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind.”
His admission of cocaine use – but not crack – won him more votes than it lost him. Would we have cared more if he’d taken crack, say, than we did about the difference between Clinton’s usage of pot and Obama’s use of cocaine, I don’t think so. Of course, if he had turned up high as a kite at the G20 summit in London we would have cared very much. If ever he advocated kids misbehaving as he once did, we’d care also.
We should remember that the allegations against George W Bush and Bill Clinton about alcohol, drugs and sex added more to their stature than it took away. The slurs against Sarah Palin confirmed her status as heroic victim.
What’s really revealing – besides the lies, smears and sliminess of it all – about the demise of Gordon Brown’s “head of strategy and planning” is how out of touch he was with public sentiment and how public opinion is formed. He and co-conspirators also seemed to be blind to the dangers of being caught in the smear-game. They have just discovered that the public really detests those who stoop so low.
Moreover, as Max Mosley has persuasively advocated, public figures have a right to have their private lives – even the embarrassing bits – kept private, unless there really is a pressing public interest at stake.
The Tories deny the latest – not new – allegations. But the truth is that most of us don’t care one way or the other. It made entertaining reading in the Sunday newspapers today. But the great thing is that it did more harm to the sleaze merchants than to their intended victims.
“New” Labour was always unattractively paranoid and vicious. What is surprising is that they have been pilloried for it for ten years and more and still not got the message.
Anway, here was just another example of “New” Labour spinning (or sinning) out of control. Come election time they’ll pay the bill for this.
this makes no sense.
Good points and maybe New Labour instincts are a tad old, but you have to remember where they have come from. The ‘project’ (where most of the instincts lie) and its media wing was born out of the media environment of the day where Labour was pilloried, misrepresented and genrally done down by what pretty much everyone concedes was a Tory sympathetic press. Rabid rebutal, research and ‘branding’ were the way forward followed of course by the ‘grid’ and the Campbell era. So I don’t agree that New Labour was “always” “paranoid and vicious”…..or if it was…it had pretty good reason to be so. But those days have gone if only because they were a millienium ago and because they are in power and should no longer need to stoop to the crap of McBride’s emails. Nice post.