Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No 10 Website Gets Garden Makeover

Downing Street clearly doesn't know its political arse from its Civil Service elbow. The Flower Pot Men have been at work at No 10.

Not content with plugging pictures of Brown and stories about Brown from every conceivable angle, the new Downing Street web site has gone into gardening, with pictures of pretty flowers in the Downing Street garden. And Brown popping up doing everything except a bit of weeding. 

For green-fingered visitors looking for information on one of the world's top nations, here's the blurb that accompanies the pretty flowers in Brown's Gardener's World:

"The Number 10 pond and garden from the terrace. The terrace tubs contain a variety of flowers such as Begonia non-stop series, Bidens ferrifolia and Geranium tornado red; Buxus sempervinens topiary can be seen behind; Crown copyright."

'Crown' Copyright should read 'Brown' Copyright. 

Government propaganda has really hit a new low. Swing around to any official government website and you'll be hard pressed to separate government information from political spin.

Over at the Home Office, the website is more subtle but just as contrived - a free puff for a political party if ever there was one.

We've had to put up with the website silliness of people calling each other prats over at No 10. Then, there was a Downing Street video post, taking the piss out of the online petition calling for Clarkson to be PM, which has been branded as a complete waste of taxpayers money. 

And now pictures of the garden to make us all believe what a green and friendly lot they are. 

Is all this produced and paid for by the Government Information Service (civil servants) or the party political machine?

This kind of crap is well-known in local government - where councils hit on the bright idea of blowing their own trumpets by dressing up the bullshit as 'news' stories. And stuffing them through our doors as so-called freepapers. 

Only, in local government,  legislation is in place to keep that sort of thing in check. And you can always use the freepapers as lining for the birdcage. 

They're still at it, but higher up the political food chain. The same technique is being employed with great gusto by the PR spinners at No 10. 

Now that Downing Street is stuffed with policy wonks and media managers, you'd be hard pressed to spot a career civil servant. 

At one time there was clear water between the elected political government and an impartial Civil Service. That was blown out of the water when Blair used the Royal Prerogative to get unelected and unaccountable Campbell into the heart of the government propaganda machine and bypass the official Civil Service protocols. 

But those checks and balances were there for good reason - to stop the PR prats from highjacking the Government Information Service and using it to spin away for petty party politics. Someone should be sent on gardening leave.

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