ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Do politicians use PR properly?

Roger Mosey BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

Roger Mosey BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

‘Politicians use PR too much. I’ve got a lot of sympathy with what Clare

Short said on Today on Monday: politicians should be able to say what

they think, and there’s nothing worse than a robot with a press release.

Within the confines of party policy it should be possible for people to

engage in honest debate, and I see our function as being to enable the

issues to be discussed in an adult way. The less the spin-doctors

interfere, the happier we are.’

Alison Holmes Liberal Democrats

‘It is difficult to see how politicians can ‘use PR properly’ when the

evidence suggests that PR and politics mutually misunderstand each

other. Politicians are increasingly asking their consultants to define

their image rather than using those tools to make their message more

effective. PR professionals are lending their support to increasingly

negative campaign tactics which do nothing to propose a positive

political agenda or inform the public. Properly used PR can certainly

help a political party or cause, but even excellent PR does not hide bad

politics at the end of the day.’

Joy Johnson APCO UK

‘Politicians have never been held in such low esteem as they are now. In

fact the beef industry has it easy by comparison. The answer to the

question must be no if the correlations between money, time and effort

is matched by politicians’ status. Or to put it another way - if Yeltsin

cannot stop the war in Chechnya, then Russian voters will take their

revenge, whatever Tim Bell may advise.’

Janice Muir The Janice Muir Partnership

‘Politicians have become so obsessed with the sound bite, with putting a

gloss on what they have to say, however indefensible, that they have

completely lost the art of speaking real words to real people.

Unfortunately it is PR that gets the blame for this. If politicians took

genuine PR advice - the kind that talks about achieving understanding

and creating good will - very much earlier than they do, maybe many of

their words and, indeed, their policies, would be less in need of the

cosmetic treatments that now pass for PR. Better yet, they might get

closer to the aspirations of the voters.’

John Gray The British Red Cross Society

‘With the growth of communications networks, politics has had to learn

quickly the lessons of PR and using the media to their advantage. We are

in the age of the political sound bite and the cult of personality and

some are much more adept at dealing with this new world than others.’

The Big Question is edited by Lexie Goddard

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in