'I only know what I believe'. The Psycho-politics of Spin: From Blair to Batmanghelidjh

Evans, J. (2016). 'I only know what I believe'. The Psycho-politics of Spin: From Blair to Batmanghelidjh. In: Global Societies: Fragmenting and Connecting, British Sociological Association, Durham.

URL: http://www.britsoc.co.uk/events/bsa-annual-confere...


The common sense view of political 'spin' is that it is an unfortunate presentational phenomenon, an epiphenomenon to the conduct of government. However, the paper springs from an argument that specialists of spin, most particularly those directing communications from Downing Street and the special advisers working within specific departments and agencies during the Blair governments, were critical in not merely presenting but constituting government policy. Most notoriously this was in the form of the Intelligence Dossier presented to parliament by the Prime Minister in 2002 which referred to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability as 'beyond doubt'.
In approaching the topic of 'spin', this paper first uses data derived from evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry's (2009 – ongoing), suggesting that in Blair's leadership, a critical nexus of non-truths and charismatic leadership came to the fore which directly leads to the question whether spin is 'lies' or a more complicated and disturbing lack of concern with truth per se. Second, it suggests contemporary practices of governance continue to be inextricably implicated in this 'spinning' legacy, via an examination of the collapse of the charity much beloved by advocates of 'The Big Society', Kids Company, and the leadership style of its Chief Executive Camilla Batmanhelidjh. It presents a psycho- social approach to these phenomenon that argues that the circumstances of the coalition and Conservative government's Open Public Services agenda are likely to create scenarios where illusion may cooperate with sincerity, a psychological fudge that allows key agents to collude even if temporarily.

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