EDITORIAL: Working for the good of the whole

One of the golden rules of good PR is that the medium should never be more high profile than the message - a fact recognised by Gordon Brown’s ebullient former press secretary Charlie Whelan in his resignation statement this week.

One of the golden rules of good PR is that the medium should never

be more high profile than the message - a fact recognised by Gordon

Brown’s ebullient former press secretary Charlie Whelan in his

resignation statement this week.



David Blunkett is determined that Whelan’s resignation will signal an

end to the media’s obsession with spin doctors, while born again old

Labourite John Prescott has made clear his intention to sacrifice spin

in favour of substance.



Despite media suggestions of a shift of power into the Campbell camp,

Tony Blair’s ’spin doctor’ is now likely to come under considerable

pressure to become virtually invisible. But in attempting to dumb down

the emphasis on presentation, there is a real danger that the Government

will throw the baby out with the bathwater.



While in Opposition, Labour effected a real revolution in terms of

communication with the media; a more open presentation of policy

development; and the appearance, at least, of a united front. The fact

that the Conservative Party has used Millbank’s communications machinery

as a blueprint to restructure its own is a testament to its

effectiveness.



What is needed now is a return to this unity - a move away from the

focus on individuals - and for ministers to finally stop using the

considerable skills of Labour’s press secretaries to carve out their own

private fiefdoms.



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