The post I did this morning on the press and communication officers was picked up by Guido over at Order-Order, a widely read political blog.
In his post he described the torrid time the MoD is having with issues on the covenant, sacking by email and loads of half trained pilots getting the boot for example and pondered who at the MoD would be handling all this bad news.
To quote from the Order-Order post;
As troop numbers are being slashed, who is responsible for mopping up these PR disasters? Well according to research by Think Defence, a battalion of spinners. They conclude that there are 697 personnel from both the military and civil service engaged in MoD spinning. Perhaps Fox should look again at where the axe is falling. Maybe send them an email.
At no point in the post did I call them ‘spinners, and although I have done a couple of silent edits the general thrust of my argument was to question the numbers of those engaged in communication activity and ask what they do, not insult people or present a distorted and salacious view. It’s not ‘research’ as Guido alludes to, its simply paying attention to openly published information in response to a parliamentary question.
Since Think Defence was started a couple of years ago the general tone has been one of respect but not deference, questioning but not judging (except where it relates to politicians) and striving to provide a forum for an improved debate beyond the ill informed tripe of ‘more admirals than ships’ and ‘civil service pen pushers’ even though there are one or two self indulgent rants now and then.
In fact, in numerous posts I have defended the MoD, civil servants and others against the general narrative, so it really is upsetting to think that the site might have strayed into tabloid territory, made a bad call and undone lots of hard work.
Mistakes can be made and I wonder if this was one of them.
Think Defence is a ‘spare time’ activity for all the contributors and it is at times like this, it makes me question why I bother.