OPINION: Lack of credibility breaks first rule of PR

Let’s start with a modern PR conundrum: what do Piers Morgan, the wayward editor of the Mirror, Andrew Marr, the BBC’s Blairite new political editor, and John Grieve, the Metropolitan Police’s racial task force director, have in common? Or put another way, what first rule of PR do they offend? The answer is of course credibility.

Let’s start with a modern PR conundrum: what do Piers Morgan, the

wayward editor of the Mirror, Andrew Marr, the BBC’s Blairite new

political editor, and John Grieve, the Metropolitan Police’s racial task

force director, have in common? Or put another way, what first rule of

PR do they offend? The answer is of course credibility.



And before anyone says I am a fine one to talk, let me make it clear

that before I was engaged to work for them I had not met, still less

known, Tory Aubrey Jones, chairman of the Prices and Incomes Board;

Labour ministers Barbara Castle, Eric Varley and Tony Benn; or Tory

ministers Robert Carr, Lord Carrington or Margaret Thatcher. The only

exception was Maurice Macmillan, Secretary of State for Employment 1972

to 1973, whose meetings I had covered as a constituent of his in

Halifax. So far as that little lot were concerned, I had a Labour past

but a professional presence.



So what about our prize trio? It may surprise you, but I regard Andrew

Marr as the least compromised. I have never known a Government of any

political hue which was happy with BBC coverage. I can confidently

predict that Mr Marr will cause angst and breast beating in Labour and

Tory No 10 alike and elsewhere in Government. But the fact remains he is

compromised by his connections, the easing out of the present incumbent,

Robin Oakley before the next election and by his ultimate boss, BBC

director general, Greg Dyke who was a substantial contributor to the

Labour Party before his appointment. Mr Marr’s road to a reputation for

objectivity is strewn with boulders.



So long as Mr Morgan remains as editor after the Press Complaints

Commission’s condemnation of him for breaches of its code over share

tipping and dealing and the culture he permitted to develop in his City

Slickers’ column, the Mirror will never credibly be able to expose

another case of sleaze.



Everybody will say: ’Look who’s talking! Ye Gods, what hypocrisy!’ As

for John Grieve, who confessed to being racist, words fail me. So let

the Mail’s Andrew Alexander pass verdict on his article in the

Telegraph: ’One of the most loathsome, odious, cringing, whining

exercises in self-abasement it has ever been my misfortune to read’.



Mr Grieve says ’passive non-racism is no longer acceptable’. In other

words, the man appointed to root out racism from the Met won’t tolerate

an open mind which treats people as you find them. That, frankly, is

political correctness gone stark, staring bonkers. In PR terms, Mr

Grieve is no longer credible. He should go. So should Mr Morgan. And

many will say Mr Marr should never have been appointed. Just as justice

has to be seen to be done as well as done, it has to look right as well

as be right.



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