Hey Jo, where you gonna run to now?

'Could you have sneaked this news out on the same day as some disaster, such as your own resignation?'
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I am delighted to announce that Jo Moore, the spin doctor who recently lost her job with Stephen Byers, has landed a new plum post – as guest adviser to this column!

Yes, today I am glad to welcome the much maligned Ms Moore to adorn this space and, more importantly, to answer fearlessly and frankly all your questions about news management and the arcane arts of massaging the message.

Miss Moore, the floor is yours.

Dear Ms Moore: It seems to me, even after all the hammering that spin doctoring has got, that politicians still cannot bring themselves to give a straight answer to anything. Rather than answer a question straight on, they would always prefer to provide the answer to a question they have not been asked. Don't you think this is still true?

Jo Moore writes: That may well be so, but we must not lose sight of the really important issue, which is that Stephen Byers is getting transport on track after years of Tory neglect, and that he will not rest until we have the finest transport infrastructure in Europe.

Dear Ms Moore: I was always rather puzzled by the implication that you wanted to sneak out some bad news about the railways on the very day that Princess Margaret was being buried, on the grounds that her funeral would overshadow the rail news. Now, it is pretty obvious to all but the most rabid monarchist that Princess Margaret's funeral is not big news. Most people under 40 are hardly aware of who she was. So isn't it ridiculous to think her funeral could overshadow anything?

Jo Moore writes: That may well be so, but we must not lose sight of the really important issue here, which is that Stephen Byers is getting transport on track after years of Tory neglect, and he will not rest until we have the finest transport infrastructure in Europe.

Dear Ms Moore: I wonder if it would be possible for you to answer the next question without referring to Stephen Byers and his wonderful record at transport.

Jo Moore writes: That may well be so, but we must not lose sight of the really important issue here, which is...

Dear Ms Moore: Stop! Hold on! Whoa there! I haven't asked the question yet. And I must implore you not to swing the answer round to Stephen Byers. You do not work for him any more. He has fired you. You do not owe him anything.

Jo Moore writes: That may well be so...

Dear Ms Moore: Come on, girl! Be brave! Say after me: "I no longer work for Stephen Byers. In the last resort he did not stand by me. I do not owe him anything." Can you say that?

Jo Moore writes: That may well be so, but we must not lose sight of the really important issue here, which is...

Dear Ms Moore: Well, to change the subject, how you would have handled the Winter Olympics debacle, the scandal in which it transpired that skating judges had been routinely fixing results for years, rather as 10 Downing Street has been twisting the truth all that time? Is there any way you could have disguised this sort of news by sneaking it out on the same day as some worse disaster? Such as your own resignation..?

Jo Moore writes: That may well be so...

Dear Ms Moore: ...or the worse news that Tony Blair is using our money to build Indian steel factories in Romania?

Jo Moore writes: That may be so, but...

Dear Ms Moore: Actually, when Labour has been caught out taking money, it has sometimes had the decency to pay it back again, as with Ecclestone and the Formula 1 business. Don't you think you should now pay back all the money you have taken from the taxpayer, on the grounds that your work didn't benefit the taxpayer, only the Labour Party?

Jo Moore writes: That may well...

Miles Kington writes: I must break in to say I have just discovered that all these answers have been provided by a small pirate tape-recording of Jo Moore, and not by Jo Moore at all. I therefore have to announce that she is fired by this column and I am distancing myself from her and all her works.

Tomorrow: Martin Sixsmith tells us why he wants to go back to Moscow, where things were so much more honest and above-board.

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