Home > Political communication, Politics, United Kingdom > How to cut through political spin

How to cut through political spin

Theory and practice from Betsan Powys, BBC Wales’ political editor:

Ask a question once and you get the answer the interviewee had planned to give you.

Ask it twice and more likely than not, you get a different , rather less fluent version of the same answer.

Ask it yet again and make it clear you don’t think you’ve so far got the real answer and you may well get the shortest answer of all … but the one that tells you most.

So goes the theory. I’ve just heard it in practice. Derek Simpson, Joint General Secretary of Unite, was asked on Good Morning Wales whether he’d welcome David Miliband as Shadow Chancellor.

His final stab at it? That in his view, the man for the job is Ed Balls. He’d make a "tremendous" Shadow Chancellor, so if David Miliband were offered it and took it, "I would not be awfully pleased" – not exactly helpful to a new leader who knows he must prove he’s in no-one’s pocket.

Mr Simpson did add that his answer "is not in any way detrimental to David." This morning, like everyone else, he’ll be sitting in the main hall, listening to the Miliband who lost out and trying to work out whether David Miliband has decided that he should stay, or should go.

Personally, I think David Miliband should be “selfless” and take the Shadow Chancellor job. For the good of the country. Ed Balls would be disastrous.

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