Corbyn’s Labour continues to indulge in the art of spin
“It is part of politics to make things look better than they really are. What is a spin doctor but a serial euphemiser?” Nigel Rees
Jeremy Corbyn promised a new politics, free from spin and the media attacks we are all accustomed to. He ignited a wave of optimism that there was a new way of doing things, that as leader of a new Labour party, he could single-handedly change the rules of the media game.
Well his new way hasn't got off the ground.
Already we have seen Jeremy and his shadow cabinet employing classic spin techniques interview after interview to defer answering questions or to emphasise a certain aspect of a Labour idea.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not the greatest fan of spin. However, I am also a pragmatist and appreciate spin is a natural part of not only politics, but of life as well. We all have moments in our own lives where we embrace it. For example, I remember once diligently explaining to my parents the long term benefits of failing an exam.
Labour’s new act of spin
What is clear is that Labour cannot agree among themselves on Trident, NATO, Syria, EU membership, the benefit cap, among other important issues. What is clearly a party in disarray with a lack of leadership has been spun by Corbyn and his top team as a demonstration of just how democratic and open the party now is.
It is so democratic in fact; Corbyn’s own team doesn't need to agree with him. Could you imagine a defender wanting to play as a forward and five minutes into a game defying his or her manager to take the number nine role?!
When pressed on policy stances, hacks are fobbed of with answers that policy will emerge following internal discussions and consultations with the Parliamentary Labour Party, with activists, with members etc., the list goes on. Corbyn has already had decades of discussions and consultations so he should be able to adequately and succinctly set Labour’s course.
Corbyn can pretend all he likes that he is an outsider in Westminster. In terms of policies, he may be, but the fact is he’s been there for decades.
He may have believed that with the top job he would have the power of a socialist dictator and not have to engage the press and could simply shape their line of enquiry away from ‘trivial’ matters. As Ronald Reagan put it, “and they say if we’ll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he’ll forget his evil ways and learn to love us.”
Spin is and always will be a part of political life. Instead of pretending he can control events, the press and crucially what the public think of Labour, Corbyn should embrace spin.
At least it will give Labour another weapon in the battle to put their case forward to the public and not be accused of another policy flip-flop.