A Royal wedding doesn’t mean that PR is in for a good new year

To hear some people talk, it has been a great week for PR. The Royal Family is even marrying into it. Prince Edward has acquired his own PR bride. Sophie Rhys-Jones will now be on tap to advise the very top on how to perk up the Windsors’ image. And everybody lives happily ever after.

To hear some people talk, it has been a great week for PR. The

Royal Family is even marrying into it. Prince Edward has acquired his

own PR bride. Sophie Rhys-Jones will now be on tap to advise the very

top on how to perk up the Windsors’ image. And everybody lives happily

ever after.



This, I fear, has been the measure of some of the reportage of the Royal

engagement. It has demonstrated yet again the media’s ability to fill

page after page with the most insensitive and intrusive guff.



You can be absolutely certain that had Miss Rhys-Jones had her

professional PR way it would have come out differently. But once

anything becomes public knowledge these days you can be pretty certain

that the story will spiral out of control in the hands of the media

whose reverence for fact, principles and restraint makes Max Clifford

look saintly.



In short, far from being a great week for PR, it has revealed its

limitations once the pack takes over. Coming on top of Peter Mandelson’s

failure to practise the PR judgement he was born with and Charlie

Whelan’s confirmation of the fate of those PR people who operate outside

the corporate machine they are supposed to be serving, there is only one

conclusion to be reached: PR has made an extremely messy start to 1999.

It was really in the mire by the time the Prime Minister had finished

with his daggers-drawn colleagues on his way home from the

Seychelles.



Instead of contenting himself with a rallying call to the troops to put

the Christmas season of ill-will behind them and get on with the

Government’s vast agenda of unfinished business, he tried to kid us that

his ministers were just one happy family.



For good measure, he poured praise like molasses over the head of his

exceedingly awkward Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who wears his resentment

at not being PM on his sleeve. And he even penned for the Independent an

article headed: ’My party is more ideologically united than I’ve ever

known it’ after his deputy, John Pescott, had spent Christmas in charge

trying to swing New Labour Old Labour’s way.



I have never understood why politicians demean themselves in this

way.



their apologists say that they don’t have much option, given the

political penalties of disunity. They have to try to present a united

front. But why do it in a way which makes them look not just ridiculous

but encourages the belief that all politicians do is lie in their

teeth?



Don’t forget, Mr Blair came to office pledged to clean up British

politics.



He has a curious PR way of going about it. PR is about carrying

conviction not utter disbelief. Is it too much to hope that some people

will get the message in 1999?



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