Farewell, COI

Tomorrow the Central Office of Information quite literally closes its doors.

In a turn of a key, 66 years of government and public sector communication experience comes to an end.  To be replaced by, well who knows really?

Since the official announcement last June there has been much analysis and comment on the COI elsewhere in broadcast, print and online.  I had the pleasure of a long association with the COI as a freelance.  I can only write in a personal capacity.

I am profoundly sad.

The COI did not produce propaganda; it produced campaigns with a message and a purpose.  The Civil Service Code expressly forbade it from producing anything ‘Political’.  I was caught up in arguments with Whitehall politicos on exactly this point on more than one occasion.  If you excuse the rather Orwellian name, the belief that the COI was the epitome of nanny-state brainwashing is laughable, especially when you compare its output to some of the insidious and damaging advertising from today’s commercial brands.  The truth is the COI was …

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