Tom Gordon’s spads are spinning!

Tom Gordon and his special adviser


Of course – regardless of what the quoted Lib Dem spokesperson in Herald article might claim – special advisors are engaged in matters mostly, and usually quite different from, ‘spinning’. According to the Institute for Government commenting on SpADs in Westminster (probably the same pertains in Holyrood):

‘What do special advisers do?
‘The Special Adviser Code lists the kinds of activities SpAds will undertake for ministers:
* give assistance on any aspect of departmental business, and give advice (including expert advice as a specialist in a particular field)
* undertake long-term policy thinking and contribute to policy planning within the department
* write speeches and undertake related research, including adding party political content to material prepared by permanent civil servants
* liaise with the party, briefing party representatives and parliamentarians on issues of government policy
* represent the views of their minister to the media (including a party viewpoint), where they have been authorised by the minister to do so
* liaise with outside interest groups (including those with a political allegiance).’


Arguably, ambitious governments – governments with onerous, diverse legislative agendas – probably need more SpADs!

Noting that the Herald article includes a quote from a Lib Dem spokesperson, this from Labour List on 24 February 2013 is shared here for fun:

‘A Freedom of Information request by the Labour Peer George Foulkes has revealed that Nick Clegg has 15 Special Advisers costing a total of £1 million each year. Only 5 out of these 15 SPADs appear to advise Clegg on his policy responsibilities (which since constitutional reform has hit the buffers, already seems like a few too many). The other 10 seem to be tasked with keeping a watchful, distrustful eye on the Tory administration – including 4 stalking the corridors of Downing Street.’

In closing, anyone else feel that Mr Tom Gordon’s efforts as a journalist when expended on matters such as this seems like a waste of a professional life? He and his newspaper could be so much better!


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