THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: How do you balance personal convictions with client interests?

Diana Soltmann

Diana Soltmann

Millbank Public Relations

’The whole point is to provide independent advice and you can’t do that

while banging a political drum. PR people who seek out clients to

provide the opportunity to promote their own political beliefs should

declare their interest. I don’t know what agreement Max Clifford and

Paul Stone had, but I would be surprised if Stone had been told

beforehand that Clifford would use the story himself to attack the

government on the NHS. Clifford has got a lot of free publicity on the

state of the NHS - Stone should get a discount.’

Mary Rice

British Medical Association

’If you’re asked for your own political opinions you should tell that

person that it’s none of their business. If I was a member of the

Socialist Workers’ Party how could I deal with senior Conservatives in a

professional way? If you feel you have to spread your political beliefs

you shouldn’t be in PR. Journalism is very similar, there is a


As far as potential clashes are concerned, I’m not sure whether it was

really an issue years ago, but now there is much more lobbying, which

makes it more of an issue.’

Clive Turner

Tobacco Manufacturers’ Assoc

’My subjective personal and political convictions would have no place

whatsoever in any advice or counsel I would give a client. This is

especially the case if there could be any possible conflict of interest

or potential personal gain involved. I am not a screaming moralist, but

personal credibility and reputation is hard earned, and all too easily


Lesley Brend

The Red Consultancy

’This is something I’ve never had to deal with, and it shouldn’t be an

issue in PR or any workplace. Personal politics are better left at home

If a client asked for my personal view on something, my giving an answer

would depend in what context it was asked.’

Danielle Freedman

Freedman PR

’I don’t have a problem balancing my own views because I simply see

myself as a buffer between the media and my clients. Their views do not

affect whether I take them on as a client or not, my job is to make sure

the media cannot be twisted and used against them. With the Max

Clifford/Paul Stone story, you have to remember that Stone said he had

something to expose. If Max had not taken on the job the story would

have got out anyway, but Stone wouldn’t have had as good a buffer as he

has with Max.’

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