So it’s back to Belgian bacon and eggs! Or it would be if I didn’t
believe in buying British. Over the years, I’ve chomped my way through
Chernobyl lamb, listeria cheese, salmonella egg and BSE beef as one
ridiculous food scare has followed another. I would now be eating GM
foods if, for once in the march of food faddery, I did not believe,
along with Prince Charles, that legitimate questions are to be asked
about the effects of speeding up genetic modification and, more
especially, of transporting genes across species.
There is much to be said for a counter-cyclical approach to life. It has
tremendous PR potential in an ageing country and developed world where
pensioners will start to outnumber the under-16s from about 2008. Older
folk view all this food hysteria, not to mention whatever became of Cool
Britannia, with amused contempt. What’s more, many of them have a lot to
spend. I came across ordinary pensioners on a recent cruise who were
simply out to enjoy their money before the Grim Reaper, the inheritance
taxman, got his filthy hands on it since, they said, their children
didn’t need it. Shrewd PROs these days might usefully sniff the
fashionable wind and point their campaign in the opposite direction.
Take BA. It wasn’t just that old girl, Margaret Thatcher, who wrinkled
her nose - and hankie - at its ethnic and abstract tailfin designs,
swapping a patriotic gilt-edged livery for a gimmick allegedly to appear
BA just made itself look daft - and ignored the domestic 40 per cent of
its market who take some pride in the flag.
Then there is Amanda Platell, Tory communications director, telling
Conservatives to get out of pin- and chalk-stripes into the sharp suits
in which Labour routinely demonstrates its contempt for Parliament.
There has never been a more undemocratic post-war Government than this.
Clothes do not maketh the man - well, not political ones, though a
certain tidiness is to be desired. The Tories these days clearly dig up
their PROs from the same place as Labour - the Daily Mirror - since
Alastair Campbell took the view that presentation mattered as much as
missiles in the Balkans by intervening to beef up NATO
Which finally brings me to Lord Tim Bell, who has been engaged by the
Tories to bring some order, not least presentationally, to
It sounds a splendid idea, given their anarchic tendencies. But what’s
the point? The euro is sinking, the Europhile politicians panicking -
witness the Cologne summit where they just thrashed around on their
single currency - and British public opinion is becoming ever more
Counter-cyclical PR requires Lord Bell to do nothing. If I were you,
Tim, I’d sit tight, and just take the credit.