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May 21, 2007

Dean Godson

Who is this Dean Godson character? Flacking for MPs who want to keep their plundering of the public purse under cover is hardly the most liberal of activities, is it?

Harold Macmillan used to say that, when the Establishment is united on a topic, it is almost always wrong. Similarly, when the media are united we should beware.

It's also possible that when  everyone agrees that they are in fact correct. You know, the general consensi that kittens are cute, totalitarianism is bad m'kay? and gravity exists because the Earth sucks.

We pay MPs to do our scut work for us and yes, we should be able to see the cash they award themselves for doing so. In detail.

Just as an example, one of his exculpatory points:

Mr Maclean bought the bike with the approval of the House authorities, so that he could get round his mostly rural constituency, the largest in England.

That Maclean got the bike with the approval of the authorities is exactly the point. Perhaps we should be buying transport for MPs, perhaps we shouldn't. Perhaps the rules should be different for those with multiple sclerosis, perhaps they shouldn't. But it's us, the populace, those paying for it all, that get to decide.

Via Wikipedia I find that Godson worked as chief editorial writer at The Telegraph. Under Conrad Black I think. OK, I guess that explains the nervousness over making expense claims public then.

May 21, 2007 in Politics | Permalink

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Comments

He was also the Conservative candidate for Great Grimsby at least twice - though, standing against Austin Mitchell, had no chance - and had, I seem to recall, a strange fervour for Ulster Unionism, the really virulent strain.

Posted by: the great redacto | May 21, 2007 9:45:07 AM

He also wrote a biography of David Trimble, entitled 'Himself Alone'.

Posted by: Bel | May 21, 2007 10:33:45 AM

He's also involved in the Tory Policy Exchange think-tank and, IIRC, an Irish blogger also fingered his father as some sort of ex-spook.

Will check the details on both, which came up when I was digging around in PX, but a bit busy at the moment.

Posted by: Unity | May 21, 2007 2:44:43 PM

His father Joe Godson was a US Labour attache in London in the 1950s.

His brother Roy, a Professor at Georgetown University, was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal,and wrote a book called Dirty Tricks or Trump Cards, Counter-Intelligence and Covert Operations, which among other thing looks at how to spread disinformation through the media.

In one of his columns, Dean Godson called for a revival of Cold War-style psychological warfare of the type practised by Encounter magazine and the Information Research Department.

It looks very much as if there's a Godson family tradition in this area.

Posted by: Tom Griffin | May 21, 2007 4:48:00 PM

People keep banging on about the exemption of correspondence but the prior paragraph is the important one:

s1(2) In Part 1 of Schedule 1 (public authorities) omit paragraphs 2 and 3 (which relate to the House of Commons and the House of Lords).

No-one to my knowledge has explained what that is doing in a Bill intended to protect MPs' correspondence.

Posted by: ukliberty | May 21, 2007 10:16:35 PM

If anyone has ever wondered who would be more appropriate to talk about "community" and "cohesion" none could better disqualify himself from such a responsibility than Godson exemplifying an exact opposite of those terms. There are good reasons to be concerned about Dean Godson's role to influence public and private perceptions about Muslims in Britain. He has made no secret of his own advocacy of "political warfare." It is clear from the historical precedents that he cites, and the methodology that his brother describes, that deception and covert manipulation are an integral part of "political warfare."

Journalism influenced by this covert action approach clearly invites scepticism. There is likely to be a hidden agenda, in line with Roy Godson's injunction that: "to be effective, covert propaganda must be co-ordinated with overall policy. It serves little purpose to dabble in the trade unless there are important strategic goals to be achieved."

 There are also likely to be unverifiable claims that should be treated with caution. http://www.spinwatch.org/content/view/4309/8/

Posted by: Yossri | Dec 13, 2007 10:45:29 PM