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Spinning against spinning

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Spin is a central part of every election. But mayoral contests are especially conducive to the machinations of political PRs. They are based – necessarily – around limited policy agendas. They are targeted at a highly concentrated geographical area. And they focus enormously on the personalities of the contestants.

That’s is why it’s so fascinating to watch Boris’ progress.

Boris Johnson hired the infamous Lynton Crosby to run his campaign. He then supplemented Crosby’s advice with the help of Inhouse PR. Their advice seems to have been – don’t engage with the opposition, woo the media.

So we see Boris’ face popping up in weekend magazine Q&As, in personal interviews in the FT, dropping in to have a chat with The Sun, and studiously avoiding face to face debates.

But, even more galling, Boris’ PRs seem intent on convincing people that Ken Livingstone is the one doing the spinning. Inhouse PR last week fed a story to the Daily Mail that Ken Livingstone had a PR team that was ‘three times the size of the PM’s’. The Mail couldn’t resist it and, though sourcing the story to the Tories, seems to have published the details almost verbatim (down to describing the additional ’105 media staff to promote his transport and economic policies’) – see Michael Lea’s article here. Livingstone vehemently denies this figures but his protestations don’t make the headlines (source – PR Week).

And the spin appears to be working. Indeed you always know when a spin operation is successful when things happen and you can’t tell if they’ve been orchestrated or not. Did Harriet Harman issue an order that Labour politicians should not refer to Boris Johnson as Boris? She could have done but then again, sounds like good PR…

Written by Martin Moore

April 21st, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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