Hard Times: Media enquiries and the Blair project

Local Opinions

Our community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.

Media enquiries issues and influence

The use of slick marketing and public relations techniques managed to sway some members of the general public who had gifted their votes freely to the Labour Party in the expectation of a better future than before under the Conservative government.

However, it did not sway the British media who frequently interviewed Blair and his spin doctors, asking exactly how the third way could work.

Important policy issues were put to Blair as Prime Minister and he often referred difficult questions to his media advisers, Mandelson and Campbell, which caused frustration in many quarters.

Opposition politicians and the media found it difficult to pin Blair down on key policy matters and several media pieces were produced by journalists to question the management of the three wise men, Blair, Mandelson and Campbell.

Media conferences and briefings were introduced quickly by the spin doctors to control the input and output of print, radio, and television pieces.

These conferences and briefings were arranged, timed and controlled by Mandelson and Campbell to avoid or avert difficult answers to testing questions.

Labour Party political opposition

The continual media management by Mandelson and Campbell meant that senior Labour ministers were forbidden to make any media comments or ministerial statements about their departments-unless it had been previously cleared by the media advisers, who were unelected.

This caused a great deal of animosity within the Labour party where prominent Members of Parliament were warned about releasing media statements and this eventually led to ministerial resignations due to the spin doctors’ constant interference.

The Blair Project

It was Private Eye who constantly poked fun at the ‘control freakery’ in the Labour Party in their fortnightly issues.

A fortnightly page was devoted to Tony Blair as the Reverend or Vicar of Saint Albion and his spin doctors whose behaviour was mercilessly ridiculed.

For example, a newsletter was produced and sent from the Reverend Tony or the Vicar to the congregation (Labour Party politicians and members), that he led a broad church, which held many different opinions.

However, it had reached the Reverend or Vicar’s attention (Uncle Tony Blair), that some members of the choir were not quite singing in tune, which was not allowed and could not continue.

The alternative then would have to be excommunication from the church (perfidious Albion), by bell, book and candle.

Private Eye then showed the control freakery within the Labour Party, its underlying problems and seething resentment towards the hierarchy, which often consisted of new members promoted to senior positions.

Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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