Thank you Nicola Horlick. You’ve done a great job for the entire
newspaper trade, and career mothers too. I can’t remember enjoying a
story so much. Such a relief to have something other than pre-election
politics and Princess Di to read about.
When I turned up bleary-eyed last Sunday to present Sky’s paper review,
the male newsroom team was swift to agree with me on the front page
image of the weekend: superwoman bottle-feeding her youngest child. A
domestic and earthy image on page one: that is a coup.
But there are media lessons to draw from this saga of modern times,
brought to us with the help of professional PR.
A lot of rubbish has been spouted about Horlick’s conduct setting back
the cause of equality by years: this was the spin of the Independent on
Sunday, (competently relaunched at the weekend, as it happens by new
editor and sole woman to run a broadsheet, Rosie Boycott).
Horlick has done the opposite. She was not dismissed for being unable
to juggle a large, young family and work: the funds she managed had
risen four-fold. Deutsche Morgan Grenfell feared she was leaving, taking
her team with her.
As her campaigning desire to clear her reputation demonstrates, this is
not a woman who has run out of steam. She is a gutsy fighter, raring to
go. Full marks, too, for the way her husband, who also works in the City
was kept invisible. The mortgage will get paid.
Horlick’s performance has conclusively knocked on the head the current
media myth - that career mothers would really prefer to chuck it in,
stay at home and leave the office to the chaps - dream on Daily
But what of the hard-headed view of the Financial Times, taken up by the
rest of the pack, that her combative fight back has been negative and
ruined her chances of ever working in a similar job again? Certainly
Horlick has conceded that her goal has changed - she is seeking
settlement not reinstatement.
Her use of the media suggests that she has decided to seize the moment,
and promote herself. Why return to the fundamentally dull world of fund
management, however grossly overpaid, if there is a more amenable world
elsewhere? I don’t know whether her fame has gone to her head, but there
are obvious new openings for such a daring woman of the world to try,
apart from becoming her own boss and running her own investment
It may well be that talk of Horlick becoming a Labour MP, or an adviser
to an incoming Labour Government is not that far-fetched - her lifestyle
alone should secure her instant access to the ranks of champagne
So it was not a perfect campaign, but it achieved its purpose. We
haven’t heard the last of Nicola Horlick.