Anorak News | Nick Cohen On the Downing Street Spin Machine

Nick Cohen On the Downing Street Spin Machine

by | 29th, April 2009

IN Standpoint, Nick Cohen gives insight into the Downing Street spin machine:

I was waiting with a crowd of guests at the Pillars of Hercules pub in Soho for the start of a party being thrown by Kevin Maguire, the Mirror’s amiable political editor, to celebrate his wife’s launch of a chick-lit novel. Political journalists and rom-com novelists are not the most promising mixture for a convivial evening, but we were all rubbing along until for no reason Charlie Whelan, Brown’s point man in the unions, turned to the journalists and started laying into the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

As he was speaking in a public place and did not ask to go off the record, the etiquette of journalism allows me to say that I was astonished. Darling had been a loyal friend of Brown’s, but that did not stop Whelan from denigrating him. More pertinently, it was obvious even then that we were indeed facing the gravest economic crisis of our lifetimes; obvious to everyone, that is, except the Brownites. Because Darling had implied, however obliquely, that Brown’s stewardship of the economy had been less than magnificent, Whelan and his friends were willing to betray an ally, make an unnecessary enemy and undermine the Chancellor at a moment of national danger.

The result was predictable. Darling could barely contain his contempt for the deviousness of a man he once considered his friend. (I imagine having to go to work every morning and contemplate the mess Brown left at the Treasury did not help cool his temper either.) Meanwhile, Balls rode on the back of the destabilisation campaign and implied that if Brown wanted rid of the Chancellor he would blushingly step forward to offer his own modest self as a replacement. Yet Darling survived the attacks and gained in stature. I could not then and cannot now understand the backstabbing.

Come the revolution…

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Posted: 29th, April 2009 | In: Politicians Comment | TrackBack | Permalink