Will 2013 be better for Government?

This is my final column for PRWeek and, as a bumpy year for the Government draws to a close, I wanted to consider how it can change its luck in 2013.

George Eustice: 'A myth has been circulating around Government that its bad press over the past nine months has been caused by the Leveson Inquiry.'
George Eustice: 'A myth has been circulating around Government that its bad press over the past nine months has been caused by the Leveson Inquiry.'

A myth has been circulating around Government that its bad press over the past nine months has been caused by the Leveson Inquiry, and that if it could just find a way of parking that, all would be solved. That is not how it works. The press has been grumpy about being scrutinised, but the impact is exaggerated and the press never repays favours. John Major's government let it off the hook in 1993 after the Calcutt Inquiry and was subsequently savaged. Gordon Brown let it off recommended changes to data protection laws after Operation Motorman, but it didn't improve his press coverage.

In every campaign I have been involved with, there are two areas where things are always waiting to go wrong: structure and message. Political organisations are vulnerable to chaos because there are so many people with a view and events move so quickly. Those who work in politics are condemned to hear certain phrases over and over again: 'Who agreed to this?', 'did we know this was happening?' and, most of all, 'why wasn't I consulted?'

The ability to reach considered decisions and then execute them in a timely way creates advantage. Each decision needs to be properly war-gamed so that possible consequences are predicted in advance and factored in. To get things right you need a clear but shallow command structure so that decisions can be made without the decision makers becoming remote and oblivious to the traps that lie before them.

When it comes to message there are three essential ingredients: clarity, consistency and repetition. Without this, all the public hears is noise. At his last party conference, David Cameron delivered a compelling narrative around aspiration that had clarity. But the Government has struggled to get that message hardwired into everything it does so that there is consistency and repetition. Perhaps it will get there in 2013?

George Eustice is Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth and a former press secretary to David Cameron.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.