What, with wikileaks, phone hackin’ journalists, social media on the interweb, a new UK Prime ministerial spin meister and things called quora, it’s all enough to give you a migraine. Of course, it hasn’t always been like this, and occasionally it is good for the soul to hark back to more tranquil times, just as Simon Hoggart of the Guardian did recently:
“Isn’t it a reflection of modern times that the prime minister’s appointment of a spin doctor has attracted as much attention as any new cabinet minister might? Rightly so – Craig Oliver will probably be more influential than almost all of them.
More than 60 years ago Clement Attlee had to be persuaded to install a Press Association ticker in Downing Street and only agreed when he was told it would allow him to follow the cricket scores.
One day Francis Williams, his press secretary, gave his usual briefing to the lobby. Later Attlee exclaimed in astonishment: “There’s an account of this morning’s cabinet on my cricket machine!” He didn’t even know what his spin doctor did.
I think that, on the whole, that was a good thing, and we were better off.”