Peter Mandelson has given up a few hours of his time from spinning
against the Chancellor in order to get his revenge on Prince Charles's
spin doctor Mark Bolland. Mandelson once enjoyed hobnobbing with the
Prince and his lover Camilla Parker Bowles, but the Royals dumped him
after his first downfall.
How furious he must have been to see his star pupil Bolland supplant
him - and succeed where he failed in reviving the public's affection for
the Prince of Wales. Not only that, Bolland has even managed to roll
back the tide of hostility towards Camilla.
Despite his achievements, which brought him PRWeek's PR Professional of
the Year award six weeks ago, the past week has seen a spate of vicious
attacks triggered by Simon Heffer's demand in The Spectator that he
should be sacked 'for the good of The Firm'. Bolland's friends detect
the hand of Mandy in this unexpected onslaught - though they were once
friends, they have fallen out big time.
But Mandelson isn't the only one after Bolland's blood. The Daily
Telegraph has seized on some of Heffer's more outrageous claims and
piled in with its own bile. This was Telegraph editor Charles Moore's
revenge for Bolland screwing up his 'exclusive' picture deal of Prince
William. Bolland prevented the Telegraph from having the rights to the
snaps of William, thus depriving the paper of a much-needed cash
I know better than most how much some people hate 'spin', but in this
case Bolland has actually been doing the country a service. For the
first time we have someone at the Palace who understands the media and
knows how to use it. He's not made friends of people like News of the
World editor Rebekah Wade for nothing.
The Pluto fringe of the Tory Party probably think Prince Charles is a
closet Blairite and so have taken up the old trick of shooting the
messenger - the fact Bolland is gay reinforces their loathing of
This campaign against Bolland will inevitably backfire because his ideas
are much more in tune with what the public wants from a modern day
monarch than those of the stuffed shirt ex-naval officers who have
traditionally done the job.
Bolland's fellow PROs understand that, and that's why the judges gave
him the PRWeek award. We are told by Bolland's enemies that because the
Queen wants him out he will eventually be forced to quit.
I don't believe a word of it.
Prince Charles is as likely to sack Bolland as he is to split with
Camilla. In an age where presentation is so critical, the two are joined
at the hip and Bolland will only go at a time of his own choosing.
But just one word of caution. It's fatal for the spin doctor to become a
bigger story than his master. Nobody knows that better than me.