EDITORIAL: Prompt reply to Labour’s call to arms

News this week that former Labour party communications chief David Hill - now a director of Bell Pottinger Good Relations - is to return to the fold for the next campaign, should come as no surprise. Hill is unlikely to be the last of the 1997 talent returning to Millbank.

News this week that former Labour party communications chief David

Hill - now a director of Bell Pottinger Good Relations - is to return to

the fold for the next campaign, should come as no surprise. Hill is

unlikely to be the last of the 1997 talent returning to Millbank.



The lunching of useful party contacts has begun in earnest as former

staff jockey for position in the new Millbank hierarchy. The public

affairs industry will be the richer for it, as election campaigning is

as near the tough end of PR as it gets.



The changes at party HQ represent general secretary Margaret MacDonagh

putting her imprimatur on the team she wants to run the media centre

when it really matters: in the heat of an election battle likely to be

nasty, negative and long. Hence close Mandelson associate and former BBC

political reporter Lance Price’s move over from the Downing Street press

office as director of communications for the party.



The victim in this process is outgoing communications head Phil Murphy,

considered ’too nice’ for running elections, although consoled by a plum

job as a special adviser to Blair on long-term media strategy. It will

be interesting to see how long he stays in that post, since an

increasing amount of the important media traffic will be driven through

Millbank as the election nears.



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