OPINION: PROs to aid a muddled, puddled society

What kind of a society are we becoming? This is a question all PROs who claim to have their finger on the nation’s pulse cannot ignore, though Max Clifford seems to have had no difficulty with it in taking Mohamed al Fayed’s shilling. Perhaps the association of Mr Clifford with the PRO trade tells us all we need to know about society’s plunge into the cesspit.

What kind of a society are we becoming? This is a question all PROs

who claim to have their finger on the nation’s pulse cannot ignore,

though Max Clifford seems to have had no difficulty with it in taking

Mohamed al Fayed’s shilling. Perhaps the association of Mr Clifford with

the PRO trade tells us all we need to know about society’s plunge into

the cesspit.



But I was not thinking of Mr Clifford when I posed the question.

Instead, I was focused on Madam Speaker’s tender loving concern for

Parliament in her valedictory address and the early release of another

80 Northern Irish terrorists, some of the worst killers in our

jails.



Betty Boothroyd, referring to her postbag, said: ’The level of cynicism

about Parliament and the accompanying alienation of many of the young

from the democratic process is troubling. Let’s make a start by

remembering that Parliament’s function is to hold the executive to

account. It is in Parliament that ministers must explain and justify

their policies.’



Well, yes, Madam Speaker. But if we are concerned about the alienation

of the young, whose idealism demands a certain consistency in their

elders, we are entitled to ask what she has done during the recent

growth of disillusionment with politics. In truth, she has huffed and

puffed about the Government’s contempt for Parliament, its instant

killing of the old twice-weekly Prime Minister’s Questions and its

endless by-passing of the institution by leaking every announcement days

before the Commons ever sees the whites of a Minister’s eyes. But she

has done little to defend the rights of Backbenchers by summoning

offending ministers and telling them: ’One more leak and you will be

suspended sine dic until you appear at the Dispatch Box and swear to

respect this house.’



And what are the young to think about the forces of law and order when

terrorist murderers are released from their sentences decades early

while a Norfolk farmer is told he must serve a minimum of eight years

for shooting dead a teenage burglar, and a Welsh teacher is given a

suspended prison sentence for slapping a very unruly pupil? The answer,

I hope, is utter contempt for their expediency and political

correctness. And what are the young to think about a Prime Minister who

appears in public with his babe in arms and expects the press not to

photograph the child - nay, regards his wish as their command?



I conclude that society is going, muddled and puddled, to the dogs. As

members of that society, PROs have a responsibility for halting its

plunge into the slough of despond. We won’t do that if all we admire is

clever dickery, quick fixes, fancy finessing and daft references to the

Press Complaints Commission.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in