The allegations of treachery and betrayal flying around Tory
central office this week reached a peak as head of media Amanda
Platell's secretly filmed election video diary was aired. Tory bigwigs
swiftly closed ranks to condemn the Australian woman outsider for her
Not so fast. In the interests of putting forward a defence of the PRO,
it is worth noting that the allegations Platell made on Channel 4 last
Sunday against former shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude and aides
of fallen Tory idol Michael Portillo are far more serious than the
charge of betrayal against her.
Certainly, she is unlikely to feature on PR recruiters' most wanted
lists. But the effect of her undoubtedly devious - perhaps unforgivable
- actions is only being felt now, a long month after the election in
which all concerned were supposed to be on the same side. The effect of
Maude and Portillo's alleged machinations - and it bears repeating that
they are angrily denied - was to undermine the party they claimed to
support while it was involved in a fierce election battle.
The first rule of clear communication requires all those on the same
side to avoid undermining their team-mates. It is remarkably similar in
content to the government doctrine of collective responsibility. With
such widespread violation of this principle as we have seen in
Westminster during recent weeks, no one emerges with much credit.