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Could “The Thick of It” add to Labour’s woes?

October 30th, 2009

Is the new series reinforcing the MacBride damage?

Like many PBers, no doubt, I’ll be glued to the TV tomorrow night for the second episode of the much-hyped and much-anticipated new series of “The Thick of It” – this time getting a good Saturday night slot on BBC 2.

Since the last series, of course, we’ve had the Damien MacBride scandal which put the focus on the way Brown Central deals with those who it sees as threats. Just look at the negative stories that seem to be coming out about David Miliband which seem to be in direct proportion to the level of speculation that he could soon be Labour leader.

So I found myself viewing the first episode in a different light. The whole thing ran true so much more and although engrossed I did not find it as funny as the earlier programmes.

With all good drama you can get to a point where you suspend your disbelief and this is what I found happening. I am sure that I wasn’t the only viewer who sees the appalling control-freak Malcolm as a combination of Alistair Campbell and Damian MacBride which reinforces the perception that this is how NuLab does its business.

This is added to by the knowledge that a key consultant on the whole project is Martin Sixsmith – the ex-Whitehall spin doctor who found, in true “The think of it” style”, that his secretary of state was telling the world that he had resigned – even though he hadn’t

The MacBride affair was one of the worst things to undermine Labour’s ratings this year. Could these programmes magnify the effect? If so then that ain’t going to help Labour’s chances of a recovery.

In years gone by the BBC would have pulled such a controversial series in the run-up to an election. Times have changed and it might well just be adding to Brown’s woes.

Mike Smithson