This emphatically is not the silly season, even with John Prescott
in charge. Things are not getting better. They have taken a sharp turn
for the worse. President Clinton, the most powerful man in the world if
he chooses to be, is now dangerously embroiled in a sex scandal which,
because of his handling of it, strikes at his very fitness for
American embassies the world over are the target of Islamic
And Hussein is again tweaking the West’s tail.
Russia, erratically ’led’ by a semi-invalid, is near economic
The Far Eastern ’tigers’ are reduced by improvidence to basket
As the Stock Exchange plummets, recession laps at our doorstep. We are
on a ’knife edge’, according to David Blunkett in an honest moment, as
Europe chooses to embark on a dangerous voyage into the unknown when it
could be about to lose the main apostle of a single currency-Chancellor
The Balkans remain Europe’s ethnic cleansing killing field. Africa is
mostly ruled by sadistic madmen and our own nationalist psychopaths
visit death and destruction in the afternoon to expose the Northern
Ireland ceasefire for what it is: a sham. Meanwhile, in the run-up to
the party conferences, both our main political parties are pre-occupied
with containing the Left, whether described as Old Labour or
All this has implications for the general conduct of public
This is because the craft is about mood and atmosphere as well as facts
and their presentation and, if Derek ’Dolly’ Draper is to be believed,
who you know or how you get to those who count. Ideas, projects and
arguments which might be well received in certain circumstances can
simply fail to fly if the situation changes, however impressive your
connections, or alternatively suddenly find favour. Sensing the shift of
sentiment and its consequences are part of the game.
Our trade therefore finds itself on the horns of a dilemma as our brief
summer draws to its close. What effect will this global virus of
uncertainty and apprehension have on our business especially when PR is
ironically the first to suffer in times of stress and business is
fearful, after the early-1990s, of being caught overstretched?
That is the 64,000-dollar question, as they say. But it really does
look, as I forecast,as if Mr Blair’s third year - 1999 - is going to be
his real test. It is the year which usually makes or breaks governments.
If so, the uncertainties will be compounded. You have been warned,
especially if you are a public utility and the Government feels the need
to pander to its restive Backbenchers. Forget that your ’fat cats’ are,
in truth relatively slim. The mood may demand action.