« Tories stuck in the nineties, says Taxpayers' Alliance | Main | 'Blue-green taxation' set to pay for cuts in business taxation »


And the Today Program tried to get a comment from then and not one was available! Instead we got a New Labour spin statement (a modern version of 'Newspeak' for those that have read 1984) that they were doing the public a vital service in the multi-media age.

Control and Propaganda rule.

Then there was the "Big Conversation", presented as the government consulting the people when its purpose was to help the Labour Party refine its manifesto. And Milburn being paid as a Minister to plan the Labour election campaign.

The big conversation. Whatever happened to that?

These figures appall, but as ever fail to surprise.

Good line of attack by the party. Keep it up,


I thought Oliver Letwin's approach on the Today Programme - bemused exasperation - was exactly right. As Matt W says, a good hit from CCO.

Yes a good hit.

But let's resolve to follow through and cut the spending back in 2010...

The big conversation. Whatever happened to that?

They disconnected the Health section when too many NHS insiders started letting the public know................I am surprised the Conservatives don't steal the idea shamelessly and create an Interactive Website

The Big Conversation - We Hear You !

How many teachers, nurses or policemen could you employ for £300M? A lot.

All those media studies graduates need jobs somewhere I suppose?!?

What does one expect from this bunch of mendacious shits.
They've got their snouts in the trough and like it, so, they won't let someone else get there and are doing all in their power to perpetuate the NuLab administration by hook or by crook.
The electorate was suckered last year into voting this corrupt administration back into office, the years have seen scandal after scandal revealed, all to no avail. No-one at NuLab has paid the price of exposure, they may have lost their cabinet positions and all the trappings but no one has been made to stand down and a by-election called.
That is absolutely disgraceful and is a demonstration of the lack of ethics and moral standards displayed by these people. They hold us in contempt.
And believe me that contempt is reciprocated twicefold.
It really is time for change, NuLab have run out of time and chances and they must go.
Surely there must exist some mechanism to make them call an election....short of staging a coup d'etat or blowing them up a la Guido.
But, David and the rest of his motley crew have to do better, they must keep the pressure up and expose all the scandals and remind NuLab and the electorate at every opportunity of the mendacity and corruption that has existed for the last 9 years. And indeed the failures of promises, not forgetting the robberies that have been comitted by Gordon on our wallets and purses.
The alternative will be to have a revolution, and then all the politico's will find the aspect from a lamp-post very interesting, at least for a short while.

Put into comtext, the £322 million the Government spends on spin rates low in the scale of expenditure when they can afford next year to hand over £6 billion, equates to £115 million EACH WEEK to the EU and that's after all payments are received.

Tory spin on the press spin on the Today programme perhaps could have included this expenditure! But yet again, WHO CARES!.

This spending on press officers by Labour at tax payers' expense isn't just bad, it's illegal.

The whole purpose of these people is to feed stories to favoured journalists. Nothing wrong with that, you might say. That's what they do on the West Wing or in Europe.

However, the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1906, says: 'If any person corruptly gives or agrees to give of offers any gift or consideration to any agent as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do... any act in relation to his principal's affairs or business... he shall be guilty of a misdemenor...' punishable by up to two years in prision.

Now I'm not a lawyer but to me 'an inducement or reward' covers the practice of giving information or interviews selectively to journalists. (It's more valuable to them than cash.) It also covers the practices of inviting them to parties or to accompany the Prime Minister when he flies abroad.

Unfortunately, organising these 'considerations' is the primary purpose of these press officers. If I was one of them, I would be urgently looking for a new job. Some might even be wise to report themselves to the police before the police come knocking on their doors.

Also, any minister keen to stay on the right side of the law in future might be advised to make sure that he limits his announcements in future to the proper place, Parliament.

"Surely there must exist some mechanism to make them call an election...."

There isn't, but there should be, and the mechanism should be through a recall system. So that if enough constituents sign a formal requisition for a by-election, one must be held and the MP can be replaced. If the opposition parties could call AND WIN enough by-elections, the government's majority would be destroyed.

George - I think you are wide of the mark here. Quite apart from the fact that prosecutions under this Act have to be approved by the Attorney General, the gift or consideration has to be given corruptly. There is no precise definition in law of this term but low value gifts are generally ok. Items where the whole thing is completely open are also generally ok. Secretly giving someone a holiday may be corrupt but doing so with the knowledge and consent of their employer is not.

Furthermore, corruption would involve inducing the recipient of the gift to do something which will damage his employer such as awarding a contract to a supplier who is overcharging. It is hard to see how getting a journalist to write favourably about the government is damaging the journalist's employer.

If your approach was correct, the entire PR industry would grind to a halt overnight and businesses would find it almost impossible to promote their products.

The growth of PR and the propagandists is a feature of American politics that has been making massive inroads of the last few years.
Parties see the way of the Yanks and watch West Wing and become seduced by the media manipualtion. They think that putting the spin on news makes them look good and deflects the shit. What they fail to realise is that all this propaganda and spin is really pissing the taxpayers and electorate off. No-one believes a word these days unless they have disseminated it.
The result is a disenfranchised nation who take little interest and allow a political elite to develop who ride rough shod over all. The last few years has seen this phenomenom; the scandals involving NuLab politico's is as a result of the immunity they feel and the total disregard for us.
Having more PR chappies is literally jobs for the boys, as the next step for these people will be a seat then ascending the greasy pole.
The impact will be to create a political elite, as in France, who are totally divorced from every-day life and reality. The electorate will learn to emulate the French and throw the odd temper tantrum and riot. So we will end up with Autarchy and Anarchy.
Buy lamp-posts and use them now.

I agree this is a productive line of attack and I was (unusually) impressed by Oliver Letwin on The World at One. "The Wages of Spin" is also a clever pun - though I can't help feeling that the allusion might be lost on the greater part of the electorate with whom we are, apparently, trying to connect.

I agree this is a productive line of attack and I was (unusually) impressed by Oliver Letwin on The World at One

I wasn't.

He said the Valuation Office Agency were 'Gordon Brown's Inspectors'. What utter rubbish.

The Valuation Office was set up over 90 years ago. It's existed through umpteen Tory governments and it was the last Tory governemnt that turned it into a 'Next Steps' agency.

What an ignoramus.

If they spend £300m on the wages and related costs of 3,600 staff, what about the spend on advertising and related brochures?

Let me guess that is over £1bn p.a.?

So halve these 2 costs and take off the tax lost we end up saving £500m. We now have started to build up a kitty to fund tax cuts for the lowest paid's allowances.

It seems to me that the VoA is too close to the treasury. Shouldn't it be Independent. Some of their decisions are bizzare and clearly designed to rasie revenue for Gordo,


My contention is that there is something in the region of £10bn "government machinery" spending which is de facto Campaign to Re Elect the Party spending. Certainly the risible £4bn Tory tax cut offered in 2001 could have been funded from CREEP.

The James report identified the tip of this iceberg but it was published at a time that entirely suited Labour, given that they a) held a comfortable poll lead, and b) the public were not yet predisposed to consider that 20p in the tax pound was being wasted.

Time for unequivocal state-shrinking policy. Tories never won a damn thing worth winning by being timid.

'It seems to me that the VoA is too close to the treasury. Shouldn't it be Independent. Some of their decisions are bizzare'

Such as?

The VOA don't make decisions, other than professional judgments, and you can appeal against those.

Why do people insist that the Party should mount an attack on the size of the state by promising tax cuts now, four years ahead of the General Election, when we don't know what state the country will be in by then.

Do you really want to spend the next four years being told how many Doctors and Nurses (or Immigration staff and security forces) will lose their jobs under the Tories?

Get over it. The leadership will produce consistent costed policies once the various policy challenges report.

Don't sack doctors and nurses. Sack overpaid administrators and cut waste by privatising all remaining unprivatised services.

Cut payments to scroungers, especially EU immigrants.

Privatise the Royal Mail. Sell off the remaining council houses and then we can cut taxes.

We can do it Ben. If Mrs Thatcher had been as timid as you we'd never have changed the face of Britain.

Malvolio, nice try, but you won't find me falling into that trap. As I said, we shouldn't try and make up policy on the hoof or assume we know what the economy will be like in four years time. Much better to wait for fully costed program of policies.

OK Ben let's go back to the VOA, which was raised by Letwin.

What's your view on that?

"Spin and hype" = bullying and lies - chief architects, Campbell and Mandelson ? In New Labour "targets" need bullying to achieve them, or, lies to explain why you have not ?

The weasel words of this cartel include "policy", "debate", "conversation","consultation", "reform", modernisation" - all of which mean "do what we tell you NOW, or....... we will set Alastair on you"

The sadness is that so many believe this nonsense, and, are intimidated by this rabble. The worry is what will be revealed when they have been thrown out of the pigsty. Goerge Orwell was right, but he was out by 20 years.

I think the point raised by Oliver Letwin was that it was ridiculous for the VOA to have 6 press officers and only issue 5 press releases in a year. He may have stumbled over the phrasing, by calling them Gordon's tax inspectors, although many people do struggle to see the difference, but I think the basic message is sound, don't you?

But you would have to be certain that Oliver Letwin was absolutely sure of his facts, not a racing certainty, I'm afraid.

I believe the Valuation Office is still part of the Inland Revenue. When I was a Civil Servant we had colleagues who did this kind of work part-time and that may still be the case.

I don't know the facts here, but is it not possible that the branch may have a number of senior executive officers in its regions who are occasionally required to do this sort of work as and when the need arises?

For another example of a minister wasting public money, see:


(hattip to Guido Fawkes at



To see the best version before the DEFRA censors put an end to all the fun, see:



To understand the driving force behind all these 'conversations', 'consultations', etc, see the Wikipedia entry for the "Delphi method"


Note, especially the heading:

"Directing the flow to a predetermined goal

The Delphi Technique can also be abused. to give an appearance of community input when in reality the facilitator is directing the flow to a predetermined goal."
[Emphasis added.]

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker