Lynton Crosby’s Tory spin machine is a cancer at the heart of the British government (video)

The Australian tobacco lobbyist, Lynton Crosby, is the Conservative party’s political PR ‘guru’ and his spin machine is out of control.  His strategy to win an election involves drumming-up hatred of immigrants and the poor and ‘managing’ the news agenda to create an impression that fits this narrative.
©Channel 4 / ITN
(Video added 14 August 2014)
As part of his campaign to ensure the Tories form the next government ministers have manipulated data, wilfully failed to address inconvenient problems with their policies and withheld research that does not support Tory ideology.
The Conservative led coalition government’s policy making and public pronouncements are littered with Crosby’s indelible footprints.  For example, it was revealed a few weeks ago that a home office study has confirmed that benefit tourism is not a problem and that immigrants are net contributors to the UK economy.
Newsnight clip © BBC
(Video added 2 August 2014)
Those of us who try to make our political choices based on evidence and not ideology already knew this because there is a wealth of publicly available independent academic and other research which have reached the same conclusions as the home office report.  Nonetheless, presumably due to pressure from the party’s militant right-wing and with UKIP appealing to the Tory’s largely xenophobic ‘heartland’ electoral base, Theresa May saw fit to have the report re-written in the first instance and then suppressed. This is a classic and egregious example of political spin being used to contaminate public perceptions of a ‘difficult’ hot-button issue.
Newsnight clip © BBC

The story evolved over a few months but (with the notable exception of Newsnight) was largely ignored – particularly in the right-wing press which is considered to (in)-form the opinions of ‘middle’ England – by the rest of the media.  So it was that back in March, Newsnight reported that David Cameron and Theresa May had been purposefully misleading the public (am I the only one to call this lying?) about the ‘displacement’ effect of immigration (immigrants taking jobs that British workers may have done).

Newsnight clip © BBC

The fact that our government (which is supposed to act in the interests of the country first as opposed to narrow party concerns) has wilfully misled us in order to affect the way we vote ought to be shocking to anyone keen on preserving a trusted and functioning democracy in the UK.  If voters had been aware that the home office’s own research was positive about the effects of immigration in the UK that may have swayed some to vote differently in the May EU and council elections.  Of course, we will never be able to know with certainty how knowledge of this report might have affected the election results but that is not the point.  The electorate deserved to be made aware of all material objective information that could be relevant to the way they cast their ballot but, for party political reasons, this was withheld from us.

The Tories have shown scant regard for honesty and integrity in formulating and presenting policies since they came to government. From withholding the DEFRA report that confirmed Tory welfare reforms are responsible for the rise of the food banks, the wholly unresearched or piloted bedroom tax, the formal criticism by the Public Administration Committee of Tory misrepresentation of statistics about the effect of welfare reform on the poor and disabled, ignoring evidence on plain packaging for tobacco products, falsely claiming that allowing employers to sack workers at will would help employment and much else besides, the list is long and the damage caused to the British people is immeasurable.

Cameron Crosby anigif

Crosby’s spin strategy is literally a carcinogen at the heart of British government

David Cameron is so committed to Crosby’s spin strategy and, of course, to clinging on to power that he invests the political capital that goes with holding the office of PM in defending the criminal or unethical behaviour of Coulson and others.  This is why we have reached a situation where our own prime minister can decide to hide the fact that his friend and close adviser, Patrick Rock, had been arrested on charges of possessing child abuse images for several weeks after the event had taken place with relative impunity.   He knows that Crosby will be able to ‘manage’ any PR fallout that his dishonourable actions might create.

Newsnight clip © BBC

Backed by media groups that are owned by Tory supporting plutocrats, it is the Conservative party’s lies and misrepresentations that have divided and confused political debate in the UK.  Much of the public is uninformed about the details of government policy making and whether or not it is backed by independent research.  By and large, they believe what government ministers, The Sun and the Daily Mail present to them as ‘evidence’ to support any policy initiatives even when that evidence is weak, non-existent or contrarian and the policy itself has been drawn up on the basis of an ideological belief.

The fact that Crosby has tried to misrepresent himself on Wikipedia by deleting details of his divisive and unethical approach to election campaigns should tell you all that you need to know about this man’s integrity and I imagine that is one of the main reasons that he is so attractive to the Conservative party.

Original news clip © Channel 4 / ITN

Democracy requires an informed citizenry and we have a right to know the facts that drive our government’s policy making decisions.  We should expect and demand that our government acts with honesty and integrity in the presentation of policy and in matters where real and alleged criminality is found in Downing Street.  However, allowing Crosby into the heart of government all but guarantees that the Conservative party will be dishonest and divisive in formulating and presenting policy, in defending criminals and criminality when it suits their party’s interests and in fighting next year’s general  election.

You have been warned.

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