Friday Drop: Good week for Shadow Secretary for Business Kenneth Clarke

When the going gets tough, the tough get themselves infront of Paxman.

Clarke: elder statesman
Clarke: elder statesman

Cue stage right, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Ken Clarke.  Following a lacklustre performance by David Cameron in the first TV debate by the party leaders, the Tories have called upon Rushcliffe's finest to help them get their message across.

The former Tory Chancellor was deployed to warn voters of the dangers of a hung Parliament.  Clearly targeting those voters who are flirting with the Liberal Democrats, Clarke warned that a hung Parliament threatens such economic mayhem that the International Monetary Fund may be forced to step in. With the Lib Democrats surge in the polls holding, Clarke used a press conference at Conservative Party HQ to deliver his message.

Fast forward a few hours, and there was Ken giving a spirited performance on Newsnight. (Select Weds 21st, fast forward to 25 mins). Never mind talk of a Big Society the message was clear - vote Tory.  With a nod towards the X-Factor style success enjoyed by Nick Clegg, he reminded us that this is "an election not a celebrity TV talent contest".  A member of Parliament since 1970, Ken speaks with a refreshing candour that few later day media-trained politicians can match.  

Key Lessons:

Don't underestimate experience

Spokespeople shouldn't be afraid to be themselves


Bad week for Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary


As stranded Britons begin to make their way home, Michael O'Leary has been forced to make a U-turn on passenger reimbursement and compensate all passengers stranded due to the volcanic ash disruptions.

Earlier this week, the generally media-savvy O'Leary said that Ryanair would only reimburse passengers to the value of their tickets, but not food or accommodations and said that he looked forward to arguing this position in court.  But public outcry and negative headlines, "Ryanair's boss won't pay compo" ran the front page of the Daily Mirror, forced a change of mind.

With fingers and blame being pointed in all directions, it is O'Leary's long time rival that appears to be the only one flying high this week.  Willie Walsh has been credited with forcing the government to reopen the skies by sending 26 long-haul planes to Heathrow even though the airport was still shut.  Not only has this delivered good copy for the world's favourite airline but its ability to run services quickly again is in sharp contrast to that delivered by O'Leary and team.  

Key Lessons:

Adapt your communications approach to the situation

Public opinion counts for even more in difficult times





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