Serious times as there is no news which appears to be good news

This emphatically is not the silly season, even with John Prescott in charge. Things are not getting better. They have taken a sharp turn for the worse. President Clinton, the most powerful man in the world if he chooses to be, is now dangerously embroiled in a sex scandal which, because of his handling of it, strikes at his very fitness for office.

This emphatically is not the silly season, even with John Prescott

in charge. Things are not getting better. They have taken a sharp turn

for the worse. President Clinton, the most powerful man in the world if

he chooses to be, is now dangerously embroiled in a sex scandal which,

because of his handling of it, strikes at his very fitness for

office.



American embassies the world over are the target of Islamic

extremists.



And Hussein is again tweaking the West’s tail.



Russia, erratically ’led’ by a semi-invalid, is near economic

meltdown.



The Far Eastern ’tigers’ are reduced by improvidence to basket

kittens.



As the Stock Exchange plummets, recession laps at our doorstep. We are

on a ’knife edge’, according to David Blunkett in an honest moment, as

Europe chooses to embark on a dangerous voyage into the unknown when it

could be about to lose the main apostle of a single currency-Chancellor

Kohl.



The Balkans remain Europe’s ethnic cleansing killing field. Africa is

mostly ruled by sadistic madmen and our own nationalist psychopaths

visit death and destruction in the afternoon to expose the Northern

Ireland ceasefire for what it is: a sham. Meanwhile, in the run-up to

the party conferences, both our main political parties are pre-occupied

with containing the Left, whether described as Old Labour or

Europhiles.



All this has implications for the general conduct of public

relations.



This is because the craft is about mood and atmosphere as well as facts

and their presentation and, if Derek ’Dolly’ Draper is to be believed,

who you know or how you get to those who count. Ideas, projects and

arguments which might be well received in certain circumstances can

simply fail to fly if the situation changes, however impressive your

connections, or alternatively suddenly find favour. Sensing the shift of

sentiment and its consequences are part of the game.



Our trade therefore finds itself on the horns of a dilemma as our brief

summer draws to its close. What effect will this global virus of

uncertainty and apprehension have on our business especially when PR is

ironically the first to suffer in times of stress and business is

fearful, after the early-1990s, of being caught overstretched?



That is the 64,000-dollar question, as they say. But it really does

look, as I forecast,as if Mr Blair’s third year - 1999 - is going to be

his real test. It is the year which usually makes or breaks governments.

If so, the uncertainties will be compounded. You have been warned,

especially if you are a public utility and the Government feels the need

to pander to its restive Backbenchers. Forget that your ’fat cats’ are,

in truth relatively slim. The mood may demand action.



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