Thursday, 29 May 2014

Controlling the narrative

That talk of the 'narrative' has now become so commonplace as to become cliched also demonstrates that what was once considered the secret of PR gurus and spin merchants has gone mainstream. Blair and his team were so skilled at control of the narrative that they became over-confident and started making stuff up. Brown was so clumsy at it that it didn't work. Cameron was quite good at it in the early days, when people still believed what he said. Having control of the narrative means telling the story your own way, to your own advantage - and works so long as the story is essentially true and you're not exposed as a liar. 

On Ukraine, despite the most sterling and concerted efforts by the combined media and political class, the 'West' failed to control the narrative, the people of Europe stubbornly clinging to the notion that this story had two sides. More importantly, on the EU, the political establishment has failed to maintain a narrative that goes The EU is benign and a force for good / peace / prosperity, most people don't care about the EU as a political issue, the EU has integrity and probity. Even voters who haven't just voted for an insurgent party don't trust the EU - some 60% of us, according to a Eurobarometer survey. 

The thing is, once you've lost control of the narrative, there's no way back. Once Blair lost it, no-one believed a word he said, and still don't. There's nothing Blair can ever do to win back that credibility - except perhaps 'fess up to his manifest improprieties and offer himself for incarceration at Scheveningen Prison at the Hague. Cameron is going into a general election with a litter of so many broken promises behind him that he's now got about as much credibility as Blair. And the people of Europe are becoming more and more receptive of a drip-drip of counter-official EU stories - from a multitude of little sources, including ourselves - that cements their loss of trust and belief in the EU establishment. For the EU, too, has no way back; the view in Berlaymont today that the 2014 Euro results were a one-off and things will soon be back to normal is deluded and wrong. There is no way back now. 


Anonymous said...

The "well" of politics has been well and truly poisoned (sic) by multitudinous events, all of which were brought about by lying politicians trying to "control the narrative" - far too many to list on here. The fact that 66% of people that were eligible to vote simply couldn't be bothered to turn up, tells a bigger and darker story than Farage's convincing win. People have disengaged and given up. We will just plough our own furrow from now on.

Coney Island

Michael said...

And not forgetting that agencies like the BBC will present it as fact if it's by Labour, fiction if it's by Tories, lies if it's by UKIP.

They don't seem to know what to do about the Lib Dems at the moment, but then nobody else does either.

right_writes said...

Anonymous's assertion that the 66% of voters that chose not to vote, tells a darker story than Farage's win, does no such thing.

It says something about the established parties though, UKIP is the new kid on the block and low turnouts at elections are nothing new.

The reality is that people have been disengaged for a long time.

Personally, I reckon that UKIP's biggest policy rarely gets a mention...

Namely, citizen triggered binding local direct democracy... I reckon that if there is a chance that a vote will actually mean something, more people will become involved and interested.

It is the helplessness of the voter, and remoteness of the elites that has led to the current state, nothing to do with Farage.

Mike Spilligan said...

Right_writes: You've got it 100% spot-on.
Reverting to trust - Is there anyone who can tell me how many lies have been told and promises made only to be broken by Cameron and his "chumocracy"?

Roger said...

Spin and Narrative got started back in the '20s in more naive times, nowadays advertisers have to work very hard to get noticed and as you say Spin and controlling the narrative seem to be getting less and less effective. But have you considered that 'Immigration' and 'EU' are now the new demons spun up (discreetly) by Western governments as a defence against bigger worldwide shifts in economics that render governments less and less effective? Someone to blame (out of the side of ones mouth). For it seems to me Western governments cannot conjure new worthwhile jobs from nowhere and our own lot are painted into a corner from which they dare not allow cheap housing. Ergo invent a cover story.

I fear that if Mr Farage gets anywhere near the levers of power he will find they are completely slack and a nice official from the BoE will read him his fortune, he will take that advice and thereby gain a seat in The Lords - and no we won't be leaving the EU, it is too good a gravy train for all concerned - and irrelevant to the bigger problems.

Anonymous said...

It is the lack of accountability, nor any thought of responsibility and that was highlighted by that vaulting clown walking about on the Maidan, effecting some sort of 'Christ the Redeemer' role. I thought, what the hell is she doing?

You raise them up to be Gods.........

Yesterday evening Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, walked through the embattled Independence Square, and spoke of her support for the protesters’ cause.

Eulogise them........

No British politician in living memory has risen so high as Baroness Ashton while attracting so little attention on the way. She came from a northern working-class background, worked for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for several years after graduation, and then found a sequence of jobs in what could be called quangoland. Having been awarded a life peerage in 1999, she built herself a reputation as a quietly competent junior minister, across several departments, rising to the Cabinet as leader of the House of Lords in 2007.

It must be propaganda written by the office of EU High Representative on Foreign Policy itself.

But I think Hitchens makes a very valid point to which I can add - what the fuck have they done? And how much blood and lives will it cost to set right - if that is possible - is it too late to correct?

Western Europe has undone the follies of Versailles (without anyone noticing) by simply dissolving all the borders on the entire Continent, up to the River Bug. I still can’t get people to see what an astonishing thing this is, how the Treaty of Schengen ought to be ranked with those of Versailles, Potsdam, even Westphalia, as a momentous occasion. The supreme paradox of this is the borders dissolved by Schengen are the very same borders which so many young men fought and died to preserve and restore (and in which so many others died in collateral results) in the 1939-45 conflict.

The modern age makes a great fetish about the nobility of World War Two. Then it presides smilingly over an act which utterly undoes that war’s principal purpose and achievement. This is what happens when people stop thinking.

Dear God in heaven, when is it all going to kick off?

Tony Harrison said...

There's much in what right_writes says about "disengagement" but in a long and highly varied working life I've mixed with an awful lot of people - and I assert confidently that very many people decline to vote because they are simply thick, lazy, apathetic, happy as benefits-consuming drones, and/or otherwise self detached from caring about politics.
This I see as largely a consequence of the Welfare State, which facilitates such attitudes and a parasitic lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree with Tony Harrison that there is a large section of our population who do not care about politics and unless we make voting compulsory I don't thnk this will change. Politics for the uninterested is boring and until a policy is enforced which materially changes their lives they are not going to take part. I wasn't interested in politics, though I did vote, until Blair came to power. I was over 50 then. I didn't vote for him though I thought he might be good for us. Well, how wrong can you be. But many people have busy lives and as they don't see much change day to day they don't engage any further.

Bill Quango MP said...

There is a way back.

John Major has been rehabilitated into society after his disastrous premiership left him a laughing stock in the Brown vein.

And Tony Benn, Marxist lunatic, managed to elevate himself from utter political failure to favourite uncle-national treasure status.

Brown only needs about 15 more years to be welcomed into universities to lecture on 'restraint'.

Blair.. maybe 25 more years.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately for Britain, Blair won't last another 25 years, he is dying now and soon he'll be ferried across the Styx. His other half, she who fights the release of the Chilcott report - will live longer but never in Britain.

In twenty five years, Bliar and his legacy will be with us ever more so, in your face and very, very mediaeval............ Insha Allah.

Anonymous said...

Bill Quango MP said @ 12:53

'There is a way back.'

That can only happen when a person is never properly held to account.

John Major, together all those who voted for the Masstricht Treaty, commited treason because it forced Queen to break her oath which made her a commoner citizen of foreign power. At the very least he should have been tried for misprision of treason.

Tony Benn was a deluded fool and the only thing that saved him, apart from not becoming leader of his party, was becoming a parody of himself.

Gordon Brown had mental health problems prior to becoming PM, so he is excused on the grounds of being unfit to stand (at trial) for the remainder of his life.

Tony Blair is a professional liar of the first order, becoming schizoid with age his crimes will never leave him - indeed will eat what little remains of his soul away. He defines what it is to be delusional.


Budgie said...

Bill Quango MP said: "There is a way back."

There speaks hope over experience. What if there isn't? What if the next stage is a horse elected as an MP? It would do as much good, as I suspect a lot of people believe.

DeeDee99 said...

The EU doesn't need "a way back."

This is the point at which it clearly demonstrates it is not a democracy and the views of the people are of no importance to the Elite who govern them.

The only option left to oppose what is effectively a dictatorship and one that seeks to destroy the nation states of Europe, will become violence - as Farage predicted.

Unless the Euro is dismantled and Aquis Communautaire is reversed I expect, within 10 years, that we will see IRA-style organisations springing up in southern Europe.

G. Tingey said...

Blair has just been handed his way back

I feel sick.

Playing Devil's Advocate said...

Dee Dee - Just in Southern Europe?

Why not here in the UK and against a governing system that does not represent and repress asit would be seen? Or is the pupulation more trusting (self deluded?) an increasingly 'Balkanised' UK?

James Higham said...

It can only be done for some time and all the damage must be done during that time - hence Broon's 3000 laws in a hurry.