Tag Archives: Mandelson

Why making Mandelson Press Secretary is a clever move

12 Nov

Reports have popped up this morning after the announcement that Downing St is to review its press lobby methods and the rumours are Peter Mandelson may become the second most visible government member behind Gordon Brown, if he wasn’t already, by giving weekly televised press briefings.

Of course, this is tip of the hat to the fact that Brown is not the great communicator that Tony Blair was, but we all knew that. Having Mandy effectively as Press Secretary, is an extremely clever move.

In place now is the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMOS), Simon Lewis, who previously worked for the Queen as well as the private sector, in particular Vodafone.

But the PMOS’ briefings are daily but don’t necessarily sell Government policy, although naturally it does toe the party line as you would expect. It is more reactive rather than proactive process, fielding questions from the press regarding policies and issues of the day to clarify or confirm, not necessarily sell. The meatier issues are announced at the PM’s monthly press conference or during any ad hoc policy announcements or press conferences.

But from what I’ve read, televised, weekly press conferences would be designed to explain the Government’s messages and policies in the run up to the next election. This will be especially useful to highlight the budget bonanza that I think we can all expect from the Government, especially if the UK is showing growth as has been predicted.

What is missing from the Labour Government at the moment is a clear and effective messenger. The policies are there, but they are being lost in a sea of errors and poor news cycles, the mums.net biscuit farce and the Gordon Brown condolence letter are perfect examples. A messenger is the key.

It is common knowledge that Mandy is one of the smoothest political operators around. Whether you like him or loathe him, that’s a pretty universally view, especially amongst MPs I’ve spoken to. If you watch him against the hardest journalists like Jeremy Paxman or Andrew Marr, he still somehow charms them.

With Mandy helping to sell the message on a weekly basis, this could maybe get Labour back on message.



What are the Climate Camp protestors hoping to achieve?

28 Aug

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in man-made climate change and I think governments across the world need to make some hard decisions very, very quickly if we are to stave off a disaster with worldwide implications. And I can understand why some people think Government’s are working too slowly to prevent climate change related chaos because, in my opinion, they are.

But, what are the Climate Camp and other organisations like Plane Stupid protestors trying to achieve? Sure, throwing green custard on Peter Mandelson was a little bit funny, managing to scale the House of Commons to unfurl their banner was a reasonably impressive publicity stunt and their earlier protests against the third runway at Heathrow and the Drax coal-fired power station had some merit.

But the fact is stunts like these are only going to start to really doing some damage to their campaigns. Blocking streets, stopping people from working aren’t going to make people sympathetic for their cause. In fact, it is probably going to start to really piss people off (pardon my French).

And unfortunately, we all remember the scenes of the G20 protests in April that saw police use excessive force, but let’s face it, not all of the protesters were totally innocent.

I also get the impression that even some of the more reasonable protests always seem to deteriorate into a festival atmosphere. That isn’t going to impress average working people who are the ones that need to be convinced increasing their taxes and cost of fuel bills will be worth it in the end.

Even Greenpeace, which has in the past been known to pull some pretty impressive stunts themselves (one of my favourites is below after the Pasha Bulker tanker ran aground on the beach of Newcastle Australia), haven’t really been publicly involved with the latest Climate Camp protests.

I’d be really interested in your thoughts as to whether the Climate Camp protestors are helping raise awareness surrounding climate change, or if they are just kids who are doing more damage than good.

Cross posted with Ruder Finn Dot Comms

Greenpeace Australia shine the words "this is what climate change looks like" onto the hull of the Pasha Bulker tanker which beached in Newcastle, Australia

Greenpeace Australia shine the words "this is what climate change looks like" onto the hull of the Pasha Bulker tanker which beached in Newcastle, Australia