Friday, 17 July 2009

Fair Game

In a fascinating piece that uncovers the unseemly side of spin, the Telegraph reports that
"Labour ministers are threatening to launch a concerted effort to tarnish the reputation of British Army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt."
The story is a bit hard to follow, not least because of the omission of the word "that" at a vital point:
Relations between the Chief of the General Staff and the Government hit a new low after senior Labour sources warned the general will be “fair game” for political attacks when he leaves his post at the end of August.
You have to read this very carefully to realise that no-one "warned the general" about anything but warned that he would be fair game. The basis for this assertion is a quote from a minister:
“Once he’s gone, we can have a go at him. He can write his book and talk all he wants, but he’ll be fair game then.”
The idea that a concerted effort is planned is backed up by the fact that they are already at it:
A Labour source accused the general of “building up his own reputation at the expense of the Army” and added: “The man’s a hypocrite. He’s sat in these meetings and approved these things, and then he comes out in public and complains about them.”
Pretty gutless really. And pretty inept, given the Telegraph's loyalty to the military. It turned the story round and it looks like backfiring.

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