As we recall, Nu Labour's first action on coming to office was to purge the old system of departmental press officers and install its own party trusties. It was straight out of the Goebbels Book of Governance (ch 1) and they were so chuffed about it they even issued a triumphalist fly on the wall TV doc, featuring Charlie Whelan swaggering into HM Treasury and spinning the awe-struck journos.
We already know we've paid a heavy price for spin-led government, but today we get some more detail:
"Spending on Government spin has trebled under Labour (from £111m to £322m) and taxpayers are now supporting an army of more than 3,200 press officers."
In 1997 there were just over 300 press officers across Whitehall. The Central Office of Newspeak alone now has 249, and extraordinarily, MOD has 229- that's nearly as many as we've got army reserves.
Among the quangos, there are 69 at the Metropolitan Police Service and Authority and 58 at the Health and Safety Executive, two organisations that are deeply dysfunctional and treat customers with utter contempt (eg see here and here).
These numbers have been obtained by the Tories: let's hope they do something about it in 2010.
Day One remember.
PS Tyler knew one of the old guard press officers purged in 1997. Her problem was she actually believed the job was about presenting information. No wonder she got chopped.