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Spin doctor has impossible task trying to portray united front of two parties who despise each other

Eilis O'Hanlon's article on "poacher-turned-gamekeeper" David Gordon (News, September 19) suggests that the highly unusual method of his appointment will be something of a "nine-day wonder".

After all, Ms O'Hanlon suggests, haven't other parties appointed special advisers without advertising the posts?

However, the comparison misses an important point. In this case, a change in the law was made specifically to avoid David Gordon's appointment as either a special adviser or as a civil servant - and in the case of the latter, the full scrutiny of a public appointments procedure.

This is an appointment that has one aim only - to act as the DUP and Sinn Fein's pointman to "big up" the Executive's performance and spin a positive message, irrespective of the reality.

Short of some sort of declared Damascene conversion, it is almost impossible for a journalist to be a "poacher-turned-gamekeeper" without accusations that they are selling out their principles.

The idea of David Gordon drafting "lines to take" or coaching politicians on how to rebut the latest Nolan revelations of Executive failings illustrates the difficulty. You cannot disavow your past.

I suggest the biggest loser will be David Gordon, as he attempts to square the circle of two parties in government, whose constitutional, political, economic, social and cultural aims remain diametrically opposed to each other.

He will rapidly realise that it cannot be done while still retaining any semblance of the personal journalistic integrity which has been the hallmark of his writing and reporting over the years.

In a world of "nine-day wonders", I would not be surprised if his tenure is short-lived.


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