The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Government by Press Release

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 14, 2009 @ 02:15

What is churned out on our behalf every time those useless MPs get together. Boring stuff.

What is churned out on our behalf every time those useless MPs get together. Boring stuff.

If there’s anything around these days that indicates just what a fickle beast government is in the modern media era it is an article I read in the Observer on Sunday which stated that Gordon Brown has demanded ministers take only a short, low-key holiday this summer, and keep their respective departments ticking over with at least two announcements per week.

In times gone by it was considered that the summer recess was a time for MPs to go back to their constituencies and prepare for goofing around in their offices all summer long. It is well known amongst MPs’ staff in Westminster that the recesses provide them with a chance to live without their useless bosses hanging around all the time, and instead the constituency staff have to take their turn to suffer on a daily basis…

But now… it seems that there truly is no rest for the wicked. The government has targets for everything, so it should surprise no one that it also has one to keep the media entertained throughout those long, dark days when the country is left in the grip of despair at the lack of legislative activity.

Yeah, right. Personally, I breathe a sigh of relief when Parliament goes on its long vacation. Indeed, it might as well not even bother to come back right now. Not when it has rubber-stamped more new offences than the number of days it has sat for since Labour came to power.

But perhaps this is all part of Gordon Brown’s strategy. Since at least some of the media will be away, the ones that remain, perhaps the office juniors or even the interns, will be desperate for copy. And why not regurgitate one of Peter Mandelson’s press releases about his latest plan to save the economy? Or Alan Johnson’s latest musing about what he thinks identity cards are for? Anything for an easy life.

And as there’s no Parliament to question what the government gets up to, the Conservatives will have to run their press office at full pelt to keep up with the pace. They don’t have the luxury of the Civil Service cranking out new policy papers and other rubbish on a daily basis.

The net result may be a lot more coverage of politics, and specifically of the Labour Party, during the holiday season than we might normally expect.

But let’s face it: the whole thing is a desperate reflection on the state our politics is in. Legislative hyperactivity is the order of the day; merely using the public law of the land as a press release to “send a message” that the government is serious about tackling X. Never mind the quality, feel the width. It doesn’t matter what the principles are in government these days – as long as you look like you’re busy doing something – anything – no one will bat an eyelid.

And ain’t that the truth in real life too. How many people do you know who can’t actually do their job, but manage to exude an aura of self-confidence and bullshit that convinces the wider public that they do know what they’re doing?

I can certainly think of a few MPs that fit that description from the time I spent in Westminster.

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