Is the art of spin dead?

The Nature Check report published today sadly paints yet another picture of a government failing to meet its commitments, let alone its over arching claim to be the greenest government in history.

The report rates the Government as failing in 9 out the 25 commitments reviewed, showing 12 rated as amber (moderate progress) and only 4 as green (good progress). This is not a disastrous picture but clearly falls short of elaborate claims about being the greenest government in history.

What is perhaps more alarming, and surprising is that not only do the government seem unable to meet their commitments – but they can’t even come up with a decent spin of the reasons why.  Defra resorted to simply saying, “well, its just their opinion”, “we don’t think their opinion is fair”… not seeming to recognise that at least the opinion of 40 organisations involved in this work day in day out, may be worth considering and discussing.

Worse still Owen Paterson, being interviewed on the radio this morning, used the ludicrous argument that the conservative party were indeed the greenest government in history – why?… of course the answer was the growing number of otters in our waterways and the reason for that… the last Tory government’s privatisation of the water industry.

Whatever truth there may be in this, it seems telling and frankly embarrassing that a government minister, when challenged on specific targets not being met in this year, he looks back to a decision made 30 years ago, with no environmental motivation, as his key counter evidence of the government’s commitment to environmental leadership…

That this is the best he could come up with is bad enough – but that it also represented his best attempt to spin the story was sader still – if I expect a politician to be able to do something – it is at least to be able to spin…

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About domhall

I have spent the last 15 years juggling careers in education publishing, expedition leadership and safety training. It has involved a careful balancing act of dreams of expedition travel, a love of climbing, walking and the outdoors and the the realities of life - and the later has definitely come off worse. I've run an adventure travel and expedition training business and lived in the sometimes sunny Lake District. Having taken a year out to complete an MSc in Environmental Technology I am now working for The Conservation Volunteers, working on engaging communities in their local green spaces.
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