|You are in: Talking Point|
Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Should Jo Moore resign?
Pressure continues to grow at Westminster for Jo Moore to be sacked.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The government spin doctor sent an email on September 11 suggesting the US terror attacks provided a "very good day" to "bury" bad news.
She has already been forced to apologise in public for the offence she caused.
Now her case will be debated by MPs on Tuesday and some Labour MPs are expected to back calls for her dismissal.
Should Jo Moore resign? Should she be sacked? Does her case merit the attention that MPs and the media have given it?
If this is the sort of person labour needs to advertise their policies, we must all question whether voting labour is a worthwhile cause.
Surely the central issue is that we, the people, are paying this woman £70,000 a year to mislead and dupe us!
Can one really get sacked for cynicism?
Graeme Colquhoun, Scotland
Jo Moore's biggest mistake in the eyes of the government was surely being found out.
If this had been kept quiet, no doubt they would be applauding themselves on a strategic anti-publicity stroke...
Guys, don't make big affair out of nothing. I have the BBC ticker on my screen in order to not be cut off from the news of the world - that's how I learned about this "affair". Believe me, nobody over here even knows that gal exists. It would be stupid to end a career just because she's a blabbermouth. I think she's learned her lesson and, as all politicans do, will learn to put on a better show in public.
Let me get this right. Her job is to lie to us. We pay her wages via taxes. How many hospital beds is that?
Dr Tamseel, UK
I too think Ms Moore should go. The 'public apology' just reeks of more spin
Ms.Moore should certainly do the honourable thing and resign immediately. Her amazing insensitivity coupled with an even more amazing lack of judgement indicates that she is not fitted for the position she currently holds. Her actions displayed a supreme arrogance and an astounding naivety in thinking that no one of her work colleagues would leak such a grossly offensive e-mail. She has had two opportunities to redeem herself(if that is possible)and she has made a total buffoon of herself in trying to do so. Yesterday's pathetic attempt at closure of the affair made her look worse than ever in the fact that she never once expressed an apology to the relatives of the victims of 11th September. The Labour government should have no place for individuals who behave in such a callous way as she has and by not sacking her it would appear that they actually condone her behaviour or simply don't care how their business is conducted.
Simon Mallett, UK
I'm sure this is not the first time it has been suggested that the Government use major incidents in other parts of the world to cover up bad news at home. Nor is it likely to be the last!
Remember that she sent the email minutes after the plane hit the building, when both towers were still standing. It could well have been that as she sent it, it seemed like nothing more than a civil aviation mishap, which although tragic was on nothing like the scale it later turned out to be.
Anyway, she is paid to time news releases for the best interests of the government, and that's what she did.
And if it's really a case that she alone would stoop so low, then isn't it a happy coincidence that this story itself has helped to obscure the theft of Railtrack...
What holier-than-thou attitudes I read on this page. Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone. I find it more disturbing that the usual practice [by all parties] of burying difficult stories under bigger news stories has been completely ignored while everybody gets irate at one misjudged comment in a private email. Sept 11 continues to twist logic.
There are some very sick jokes going about so I suggest those who are irate over this matter should start their witch-hunts for others who they would have sacked. I for one am much more offended by all the city businessmen who sang national anthems before dumping their shares the day trading resumed after Sept. 11. They're the ones who should be explaining their selfish behaviour.
Why all the fuss? Cynical manipulation of a media opportunity. Scant regard for anything else other than New Labour's image. Alistair C will be handing out the gold stars to Miss Moore. And at £51,000 p.a. for a three-day week, what value the taxpayer is getting from the feisty lass.
Come on folks, reality check, we're talking about people (Tony, Alistair, Stephen, etc.) who have no comprehension of what 'shame' is!
Initially my thoughts were that this was a poor joke - now I see it was an 'error of judgement'. In other words, this sort of practice is usually approved by Byers' department. If that's the case then Jo Moore, as reprehensible as her behaviour seems, was only doing her job. Sacking her would only be offering up a sacrificial lamb, it's the whole culture of the department that's in question and that's what needs to be addressed. If she loses her job she should not be the only one to do so.
Jo Moore's interview this evening was delivered as "I'm sorry I was naughty and I won't do it again, it's just that I'm a silly girlie and I didn't even know it was wrong." I can't judge her actions, but she deserves to be unemployed simply on the basis of her apology.
We have an apology for 'sending a memo', we have not had an apology for the sentiments contained within that memo. Until a sincere apology for the actual mindset and ramifications of the comments contained within that memo, I for one will not be satisfied.
The problem is of course, that such an apology would necessarily involve colleagues and seniority (our representatives in parliament) in accepting, or worse, requiring such methods.
I would wish for this form of apology but sadly do not expect one.
Gavin Pearson, Detroit, USA
How are we to believe journalists are objective about this issue when they plaster the derogatory term "Spin Doctor" on the headline? There are many individuals surrounded by controversy who are spared the pain of media attention when something more news-worthy happens. It may not be fair or just, but it's true.
I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1983 and I agree with Gerald Kaufman's view (expressed on last week's 'Question Time') that Jo Moore should go, on the grounds that we are entitled to expect more of high-profile public servants.
What is the problem? Ms Moore's "cynicism" is the same as that of commercial companies who after the attacks withdrew advertisements showing the WTC, fearing that sales might be harmed.
A typical spin doctor; not an ounce of humanity in them. We have seen in the past, that they will twist and distort, lie and bluff. This is their job, so why the big hoo-hah? Surely we have come to expect this kind of thing, but also we have come to expect them to go, as well. There is no point in trying to apologise, because no one is going to believe you. Resign, wait a bit, and the government will probably give you a job as senior press officer in a couple of years.
Perhaps she should explain that e-mail to those who were not as fortunate as I and who spent days and weeks walking from hospital to hospital searching for the family member who will never come home.
To call this bad judgment is such an understatement that I can't believe anyone can say that and look themselves in the mirror. I, for one, don't believe a word of her apology and feel she is just trying to "spin" her way out of this. I also wonder if she has an ounce of humanity in her. We should all pray that she finds some.
Rich Thomas, Sweden/UK
"Spin doctor" means "liar" to normal people. She needs to go.
What is more sick is that people are pretending this is uncommon practice. It appears some people who have cases to answer see fit to join in the verbal mob-lashing Jo Moore has endured. I say look in the mirror and ask yourselves what you see.
Jim Baker, United States of America
Miss Moore should resign immediately. She has shown that her judgement is suspect and therefore not fit to advise a minister. Her total credibility has disappeared. By staying, she neither gives her minister any credence nor herself any respect. She should show the country respect by going.
UK citizens should be concerned about the Terror Memo scandal. It is unthinkable that an aide (Spin Doctor) to a member of Tony Blair's Cabinet, the Transport Secretary Stephen Byers, should get away with making such comments about 9/11. A doe-eyed apology will not wash. The responsibility should fall ultimately with Byers. The tone of the apology was a disgrace to the profession of Spin itself, not mentioning the real victims of the hurt she has inflicted, those who perished in the WTC.
However, it's not only hurt that has been felt but - possibly more serious for Moore and Byers - smashed public confidence in their abilities to operate within government. What sort of signals is Tony Blair sending to the UK and the rest of the world about the operational state of his government, in light of the recent pledges by him to set up a "broad-based government" in Afghanistan? I would pity the Afghan people even more if they had a Moore and a Byers in their new government - that's if it ever happens.
Steven Hanwell, England, UK
I have an idea for a suitable punishment.
Put her on a plane to New York. Make her meet face to face with the families of each and every one of those who died in the WTC attack. Then after that, take her to Washington to meet the
relatives of those who died in the Pentagon attack.
If she's still alive after the experience, she can have her job back.
I suspect that the reason Jo Moore wasn't sacked is that she would then be free to tell us a lot more about what tactics the Government uses to manage news.
Jo Moore was not guilty of a lack of judgement but a lack of common humanity. It is Stephen Byers who is guilty of a lack of judgement in his failure to appreciate this. This makes me question his fitness for high public office.
It proves that she follows her job description to the letter. Why should private advice be tactful?
Henry Case, UK
What a wonderful revelation! The more, these gaffes (read truths) that come to light, the better chance the sheep will have to understand how corrupt our political system is. Deviousness like this is welcomed to open the eyes of the blind and enact a change in favour of truth however damaging. Some hope.
To me her apology was a bit like saying "Sorry for revealing the fact that I am a cynical, cold hearted, calculating sort of person" and as such I think it is a disgrace that she is allowed to continue to work in her post.
Christine Gallacher, UK
By failing to sack her, Labour have just proved to the public that they approve of her behaviour.
Jo Moore's email is not that appalling; what is depressing is reading between the lines; that assiduous 18 hours a day enthusiasm to try and aid the cause.
Thanks are in order to whoever leaked this story because it gives us a glimpse at what a nasty nest of vipers our politicians really are. What we should be asking is, who created these kinds of jobs in the first place; who trains these people to think this way?
It may be your job Ms Moore but callin' it your job don't make it right.
The British health system seems no longer to deliver what it has been designed for and guardians can starve and fustigate their children to death without anyone caring. Mr Blair has nothing better to do than bury this bad news under the shock
of an "attack on our western civilisation". Now the hero, whose media star was already fading, can re-profile himself as the saviour of a
civilisation. Instead of burying bad news amid the outrage over the attacks and playing world police, elected politicians should address the country's misery caused by their and their predecessors irresponsible governance.
The only thing she is sorry about was getting caught.
As John Lennon said: "I'm sick to death of hearing things from neurotic psychotic paranoid politicians, all I want is the truth, just give me some truth". Pigs might fly.
It is disgusting to see how twisted a person's mind can work while striving for a career.
This isn't about Ms Moore at all. She was expertly "fitted up", and a tiny bit of spin-filth released. A spinner was spun. We should expose the rest of this political slime before it takes over. As it has in France, where it's an art form.
Steve Thompson, England
PR advisors such as Jo Moore should not be paid out of the public purse but should be paid by New Labour. They provide no assistance to the government: merely to the party in government, so, yes, she should be sacked. I'm sure New Labour would be delighted to pick up the tab for such a dedicated worker.
There are public servants who are paid to keep their heads and reach appropriate judgements in the most difficult of circumstances. However, Jo Moore isn't one of them. She is a spin doctor in a minor Government department. Whether or not details of councillors' expenses were released on 11 September did not bear any relationship to the events in New York.
Jo Moore wasn't doing her job and she certainly wasn't acting with any sort of basic human compassion. Far from being professional, her actions were callous and unbecoming for any public servant. The fact that she hasn't already been sacked is utterly scandalous.
D Watts, UK
You either have spin doctors or you don't. Their job is to trick the public, their very existence should be in question and not how well they do their job.
This will serve as quite a timely reminder to people that they can never just take news at face value. Surely people already understand the games played out in and with our media. The shock horror reactions in this line merely reflect the uncritical way some people consume their daily doses of news.
At a time when all decent people were wringing their hands in despair and revulsion a cold, calculating civil servant practiced the lowest form of political opportunism. A loathsome and unforgiveable act against a background of so much suffering.
"Poor girl", "only doing her job", "simple mistake" - Ms Moore is not some wet behind the ears school-leaver, she is ruthless New Labour through and through. She was the architect of her job and believed what she did was correct. We may be appalled, but I doubt that in the inner sanctum of the New Labour project anyone really batted an eyelid
Stephen Byers has 'reprimanded' her now, but only AFTER he acted on her advice and slipped the councillors expenses item out. They should both resign, but don't hold your breath....
However, what is REALLY scary is that events have shown that, even with the benefit of hindsight and the time to reflect on the events of 11th September, "burying bad news" is EXACTLY what the Government has attempted to do over the past few weeks. It seems that her boss Stephen Byers might be beginning to regret taking her advice, as the Railtrack fiasco (launched with the most cynical of timing) is now looking like being his nemisis.
The Press and Media should have a long hard look at themselves after this. Why? She's basically correct. The reporting of other closer to home important issues has been almost completely ignored due to 'the 11th events'. Why? Populist, lazy reporting that bears no relation to 'journalism'.
This incident clearly shows the deep amorality of the current government, when compared with the shining standards of the last one, under which, according to a letter from an ex-civil servant from the Government Information Service printed in Wednesday's Guardian, the Chief Press Officer instructed all staff to get any 'bad' news published urgently under cover of the Dunblane shootings. This is nothing new, no new depths are being plumbed, it's just business as usual, sadly.
We need to know the truth about what is going on in this country and the world. Spin doctors and the media are obscuring the truth. We must rein in the media machine before it manipulates us any further.
This isn't about offending the US or peoples sensibilities about the disaster. This is about the fact that our government feels the need to hide and push things through when everything should be open to the public and not sneaked around.
Gus swan, UK
Could we expect anything else from a government that brought Peter Mandelson back after he was caught lying?
Like all things that ALL GOVERNMENTS DO, the e-mail from Jo Moore just shows how much further this government will go. She has been reprimanded for being caught out. She could hardly be reprimanded for anything else having learnt her tricks from her political masters.
As Ms Moore's job is based on `news management` then she was doing her job. The real crime is that the job exists in the first place.
Could I point out that as an individual in her own right, she should be so embarrassed by her action that she would resign, no matter as an employee of the taxpayer. Furthermore why do we need to pay for people like this when the money should be spent on the NHS?
I am only amazed that she felt that the Government needed reminding that it was a good time to bury bad news. After all it has worked like this for years
17 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Spin doctor should quit - colleague
16 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Terror memo aide breaks cover
10 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Aide apologises for 'attacks memo'
13 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Spinning out of control
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to more Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy