David Burnside, the hard-nosed PR man who once flew the flag for British
Airways, as director of public affairs, has been doing the same for the
Union with a new monthly publication The Unionist. In the first edition,
launched at last week’s Tory conference, Burnside, who is director of
the Unionist Information Office GB, explains his loyalty to the Orange
Order and offers this touching confession: ‘We do not understand why we
are misunderstood, but then as a professional PR practitioner I blame it
very much on ourselves for not explaining.’
Meanwhile, BA’s current PR adviser - Lowe Bell Communications - has
apparently abandoned all pretence of political balance with its
advertisement on the back of the Tory party conference media guide.
‘Life is better with the Conservatives, don’t let Labour ruin it.’
Few people can have any illusions about where chairman Sir Tim’s
political loyalties lie, but the ad might prove a little embarrassing
for Lowe Bell Political’s Labour team - Neal Lawson and Ben Lucas.
Sir Tim is typically forthright. ‘We’ve always had an ad in the Winter
Ball programme - God knows how many thousands of pounds I’ve given to
Tory publications,’ he tells me. ‘As a company I think our business
prospers better under a Conservative Government than a Labour
Government. I happen to run the company... it’s not a democracy, nor
should it be!’
And for his fence-sitting competitors, Sir Tim has this message: ‘I’m
not prepared to be mealy-mouthed about it, like some others are.’
If he didn’t exist, you’d have to invent him.