Friday Drop: Good week for Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell

An emotive subject this week as The Drop goes east to Helmand where British and coalition troops are engaged in long-term combat with Taliban insurgents.

Rammell: Tricky task
Rammell: Tricky task

With former serving generals taking potshots at an already riddled Gordon Brown for not investing in defence spend, the spotlight has been firmly on the equipment ‘Our Boys' have been palmed off with. Road side bombs are an increasing hazard of patrol life and the Army's Land Rover Snatch vehicles are proving woefully unable to provide any protection.

Summoned before the Jon Snow committee, Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell was forced to do the PM's bidding on Channel 4 News. (Select Tues 9th, Part one, Fast fwd to 6mins)  He had to defend what some would say is indefensible after a coroner set a number of questions which Snow fired off at the becalmed Rammell. This follows a verdict into the death of four soldiers. ‘Who was responsible for the inadequate equipment?' sniped Snow. Ramell remained calm under fire and proceeded to offer a measured response, with some level of mea culpa on the MoD's behalf. ‘The coroner has raised some serious questions' soothed Rammell. He further acknowledged failings, but pointed out, just forcefully enough, that the MOD had had to wait for the replacement vehicles to be designed and made. A spirited response and no white flag.

Key Lessons:

Keeping your composure will help you articulate your side of the story

Admitting there have been mistakes will often diffuse the situation


Bad week for Carla Bruni Sarkozy

The French President has often been nicknamed ‘speedy Sarko', but if rumours are to be believed he has been a little too speedy to bed with a karate-practicing minister. Likewise his wife of two years, the coquettish Carla, has allegedly  been seeking ‘solace' with a French chanteur to make up for it. Like a Frenchman after a lunchtime pastis, the gallic rumour mill has been reluctant to really get working. Twitter is just catching on in France and le Journal du Dimanche was the first outlet to write about the supposed comings and goings at the Elysee Palace that surfaced thanks to ‘des tweets'.

Sarkozy can count himself lucky that the French media often refuses to dabble in stinky Anglo-Saxon style gossip about private lives, but that doesn't stop the British press poking its nose into ‘L'Affaire Sarko-Bruni'. Since Monday there has been no official line from Sarko. ‘Absolutely no comment to make' said his spokesman. Meanwhile his wife is doing her best to dampen the flames by asking the question that all suspicious lovers the world over must ask themselves during an exclusive Sky interview: ‘Have you ever seen a photo of him having an affair?' That's that cleared up then. Could the President be heading for divorce number three? Mon dieu.

Key Lessons:

No response allows others to fill the information vacuum

An unconvincing media performance can raise more questions


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