The next government will have to address the problem of the ‘fractured
trust’ between people and parliament, according to Derek Foster, Shadow
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
At the third IPR Fifth Estate conference on faith and PR, Foster said
MPs must ‘scale down what the public expects of them and just address
the few things they can deliver’.
In answering the question ‘When does spin become sin?’. Mr Foster, a
former Labour chief whip (and a Salvationist), said it was when the
press was intimidated into a relationship so strong that spin was easily
accepted. For democracy’s sake, he said that he preferred a fiercely
sceptical press that printed anti-spin stories.
Peter Hunt, head of group communications for Shell International, said
that spin becomes sin if ‘you refuse to allow facts to alter what you
say’. Awareness had increased, understanding had not, so there was ‘a
diminution of trust’The conference also heard an attack on the
‘traditional model’ of charity by Lotte Hughes of the Save the Children
Fund. ‘People survive without us,’ said Hughes. ‘That is never shown’.
On the Church’s relationship with the media, the Times’ religion
correspondent Ruth Gledhill, said that the Christian churches treated
the media ‘as serial killers of the truth’ while Jewish and Islamic PR
performed much better.