EDITORIAL: Tantrums won’t make them stop

Lord Steel’s decision to take the Daily Record to the Press Complaints Commission over its coverage of the new Scottish Parliament reveals a profound misunderstanding of message management and professional political communications.

Lord Steel’s decision to take the Daily Record to the Press

Complaints Commission over its coverage of the new Scottish Parliament

reveals a profound misunderstanding of message management and

professional political communications.



His attack on what he called ’bitch journalism’ is pure knee jerk,

triggered by unkind reports about his own delusions of grandeur, now

that he is Holyrood’s presiding officer.



Rather than lash out verbally, Lord Steel would do well to consider how

poorly resourced the in-house communications function is within the new

parliament. Communications director Lesley Beddie’s portfolio is

huge.



Her staff is roughly the same size as the old Scottish office team

before devolution - those press officers covered seven ministerial

briefs, while Holyrood’s PR team has 22 government ministers to

promote.



Therein lies the root of the scrambled communication lines between the

Scottish executive and the nation’s media. A little more Millbank-style

spinning would therefore not go amiss to smooth relations with

newspapers which, before the referendum, declared themselves to be

overwhelmingly in favour of devolution.



The feisty Scottish tabloids will probably never stop sniping, but, with

a little investment in PR, the ’bitch journalism’ will be tamed to puppy

dimensions.



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