Lorraine Davidson's Column: Gray's Fist KOs Those Black Arts; TALKING POLITICS.(Features)

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

Lorraine Davidson's Column: Gray's Fist KOs Those Black Arts; TALKING POLITICS.(Features)


Byline: Lorraine Davidson

THE Prince of Darkness Peter Mandelson has finally seen the light, it seems.

I don't know why he is credited with being a political genius if he has just worked out what everyone else realised years ago: that spin is no longer an asset.

The man who invented the concept is now telling his party to ditch his legacy and get back to talking about real policy issues.

The problem is, his plea that spin must be buried along with Jo Moore's career sounds like just more spin.

No doubt Mandelson will sell a few more books to political anoraks on the subject.

But the really smart politicians realised several years ago that Labour's tactics in opposition did not work in government.

Nowhere is that more true than in Scotland.

As soon as our new Parliament was set up the spin doctors were the first casualties.

Remember all those resignations as Donald Dewar battled to get the Parliament on track...

Back in the days when Mandelson was using those black arts in Millbank to get Labour elected, Jack McConnell was doing the same in Scotland.

As Labour Party General Secretary, he ruthlessly used journalists, charming those he thought he could win over and freezing out any he thought unhelpful to Labour.

How times have changed! From the day he landed a job in the first Scottish cabinet Jack stopped being the journalists' friend and surrounded himself with "advisers" instead.

As cabinet colleagues briefed against each other and tried to spin themselves good headlines, Jack switched off his mobile and got on with the job. …

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