Fair is foul and foul is fair as Blair tries not to boil in Clinton’s cauldron

President Clinton’s increasingly bizarre sex life, what with cigars, embossed knee-pads, mints and telephones, contains a profound lesson for all PR practitioners. It focuses attention on the fundamental of any public relations campaign: the quality of your case. It also underlines the force of Sir Walter Scott’s ’Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive’.

President Clinton’s increasingly bizarre sex life, what with

cigars, embossed knee-pads, mints and telephones, contains a profound

lesson for all PR practitioners. It focuses attention on the fundamental

of any public relations campaign: the quality of your case. It also

underlines the force of Sir Walter Scott’s ’Oh what a tangled web we

weave, when first we practise to deceive’.



When the torrent of disclosures in Washington was nobbut a spring, you

may recall that Mr Clinton insisted that he had never had sexual

relations with Monica Lewinsky. He was desperate not to lend credence to

Paula Jones’s sexual allegations against him. His upbringing in male

chauvinist Arkansas apparently enabled him to justify his claim. There,

it seems, only what a man does to a woman and not the other way round

counts. And since, Mr Clinton claimed, probably correctly, that he never

penetrated one whom the expert Alan Clark MP calls ’a randy little

minx’, he felt his defence was sure.



He even persisted with a legalistic line in response to charges of

perjury when he was forced to admit that he did after all have what we

would all recognise as sexual relations with Ms Lewinsky. This went down

like one of Richard Branson’s balloons. Assorted American Congressmen

pleaded with the President on TV to stop this dancing on a legal pinhead

and be manifestly of humble and contrite heart. In short, not even Slick

Willy, an accomplished conman, could flog an unbelievable line.



This should be a warning to all of us in the presentational game - and

not least to our Government. Mr Blair, as foreshadowed in the Sunday

Express, has yet to heed it. On his visit to New York this week he stood

by his man to demonstrate he is not just the President’s fair weather

friend.



But back home he pointedly issued a paper supporting marriage, the

family and family values. In other words, he tried to have his cake and

eat it.



So long as Mr Clinton is in the White House, Mr Blair will have to deal

with him. That is one of the penalties of office. You have to grin and

bear all sorts of odd bods around the world. But, if you are out to show

you are a foul weather friend, why make gestures elsewhere that can be

taken as disapproving of your pal? It smacks of insincerity.



And in the UK, a Prime Minister extolling the institution of marriage

and family values whose Cabinet and inner circle contain the first

avowed homosexual in Chris Smith, marriage wreckers Robin Cook and Lord

Irvine, several divorcees and bachelors and others who love and breed

without the commitment of marriage is asking to be called naive,

insensitive and incredible. Can we now expect Mr Blair to be given John

Major’s treatment?



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