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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Crisis Management

Ever since Sunny Jim Callaghan's 'Crisis, What Crisis?'* moment, British politicians have been wary of being out of touch with voters' worries about the state of the nation.

It's also become something of a truism that Governments hate making a drama out of a crisis, while Oppositions love 'em.

But just as they ridicule the Tories for shoehorning 'hard working families' into every statement, Labour seem to be crisis-obsessed in their own pronouncements.

Labour's press releases have mentioned the word 659 times in the last 5 months alone. It seems that they've forgotten how to say anything else. You could even call it 'crisis-itis'.

There's been:

*         A housing crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/75677995889/osborne-has-admitted-that-we-face-a-housing-shortage

*         A care crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/75477510021/the-state-of-the-nhs-speech-by-andy-burnham

*         A Government crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/74271128844/vernon-coaker-response-to-the-latest-round-of-armed

*         A crisis of competence: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/73247328873/this-report-is-more-evidence-of-complacency

*         A looming recruitment crisis for doctors: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/76837021500/david-camerons-a-e-crisis-is-deterring-newly-qualified

*         A teacher recruitment crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/64904133664/the-divisive-policy-on-free-schools-is-nick-cleggs

*         Which presumably led do a schools places crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/76238073973/ed-milibands-hugo-young-lecture

*         Which had no help from the 'childcare crisis': http://press.labour.org.uk/post/66902793729/joseph-rowntree-foundation-research-on-family-poverty

*         And nothing was done thanks to the 'inexcusable crisis' in free schools http://press.labour.org.uk/post/69631896292/nao-report-shows-camerons-flagship-free-schools

Some have been happening for a long time like:

*         The 'quiet crisis': http://press.labour.org.uk/post/66083737032/ed-miliband-speech-on-dealing-with-the-cost-of-living

*         The 'ongoing crisis in the prisons system': http://press.labour.org.uk/post/76627913080/the-severe-shortage-of-space-in-our-prisons-system


While others pop up quite quickly like:

*         A flooding crisis http://press.labour.org.uk/post/77066339582/governments-transparent-attempt-to-try-grab-a-few
Occasionally you can spot them morphing from one to the other like:

*         A 'growing crisis' for women: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/68828648090/womens-aid-report-is-a-damning-verdict-on-theresa


There have been many different crises to do with the economy:

*         There's the 'financial' crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/74112276818/response-to-kings-fund-report-on-nhs-finances-andy

*         And the 'global financial crisis': http://press.labour.org.uk/post/74482807151/labour-to-reverse-camerons-tax-cut-for-people-earning

*         A banking 'crisis': http://press.labour.org.uk/post/73604990200/one-nation-economy-speech-by-ed-miliband-mp

*         A personal debt crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/64904133664/the-divisive-policy-on-free-schools-is-nick-cleggs

*         An economic crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/62346467643/gibraltar-a-fully-self-governing-part-of-the-european


Some economic crises are even caused by Labour's own donors like:

*         The Grangemouth crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/65038785868/grangemouth-announcement-response-margaret-curran


Even the weather seems to be causing difficulties. There was the:

*         autumn crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/75477510021/the-state-of-the-nhs-speech-by-andy-burnham


Which naturally progressed into:

*         A 'winter' crisis: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/76627141275/news-figures-are-further-evidence-that-a-e-departments

 

(As it happens, there has been no 'NHS winter crisis' that some feared/predicted, perhaps because of the milder temperatures - it's been rainy but not cold).

Maybe it's time to ration the party's use of the phrase. Otherwise, it may look like Labour's PR machine is in 'crisis' itself...

 

 

*FOOTNOTE: 'Crisis, what crisis?' was of course the famous Sun headline that paraphrased/misquoted Jim Callaghan. On his return from Guadeloupe, the then PM actually said: "I don't think other people in the world would share the view there's mounting chaos". It wasn't a direct quote but caught the mood and the rest, as they say, is history.

Given the fun Labour has had with the Tories' decision to hyphenate or not 'hard-working families' (or even 'hardworking' and 'hard working families'), it's worth noting that Labour has used the phrase 'cost-of-living crisis' 252 times recently, compared to 217 uses of the non-hyphenated 'cost of living crisis'. They may need a style guide, as well as a cliche-remover.

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