Why Clifford’s moral crusade is more akin to a McCarthy witchhunt

Three good things have come out of Carlton Television’s crude extravaganza on the monarchy. Its chairman, Michael Green, will find it more difficult to trivialise and ultimately ruin ITV. Telephone polling has been exposed for the self-selecting, undemocratic nonsense it has always been. And Max Clifford is now seen for what he is: a sanctimonious hypocrite determined to make a fat living out of dishing the dirt on his political opponents.

Three good things have come out of Carlton Television’s crude

extravaganza on the monarchy. Its chairman, Michael Green, will find it

more difficult to trivialise and ultimately ruin ITV. Telephone polling

has been exposed for the self-selecting, undemocratic nonsense it has

always been. And Max Clifford is now seen for what he is: a

sanctimonious hypocrite determined to make a fat living out of dishing

the dirt on his political opponents.



I am not having second thoughts about taking part, as contracted, in the

session of Carlton’s shouting match on the monarchy’s value for

money.



I am sorry I did. It does no one any good to be associated with public

brawls. My only consolation is that I was able, if only for a few

seconds in the bear pit, to signal my support for the monarchy - and

that hundreds of thousands revolted against the spectacle by voting 2:1

against the nasty republicans.



But experience shows that some good can come from even the worst

disasters.



We now know, for example, that by abandoning the poll tax, we have

passed up the one sure way of curbing local government profligacy. One

other benefit of Carlton’s Ratner is that I have tangled with Mr

Clifford on television. To my surprise, I came face to face with him on

BSkyB when I had assumed - because that is what I was hired to do - I

would be puncturing the piety of a tabloid editor.



I now know that Mr Clifford is a sensitive flower. He has, of course,

much to be sensitive about. He felt it necessary, for presentational

purposes, to apologise to viewers for swearing at me. I now know that he

believes that all PR people lie through their teeth and that that is

what the game is about, even in - nay, especially in - Number 10. He

seems not to understand that long-term spokesmen have to retain a

certain credibility.



And I now know that he is as shallow as the sea at Southport. It is not

that he seems proud of running a business which encourages every moll,

rent boy and rat to expose the stupid indiscretions of the most minor

Tory if they fall short of his curious standards. Nor is it that he

justifies his pursuit of Tory politicians on trumped up charges against

a Government under which NHS funding has risen by 72 per cent in real

terms since 1979 and life expectancy has soared.



It is that he just looked blank when I accused him - and editors who

sign the cheques - of imposing on Britain a new brand of McCarthyism

which hounds out of office all who do not conform to their

commercialised brand of morality. Mr Clifford is odious. For its own

good, the PR industry should say so at every opportunity.



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