It's beginning to look a lot a disaster

By Mr Brocklebank on Dec 21, 12 11:58 AM in

THERE'S a phrase, in the political world, when trouble is brewing and a scandal is on the horizon, that is oft spoken in the form of supposedly sagacious advice: "Get the denial in first."

But there's one problem with this tactic: whatever scandal one is denying may not have passed across many people's radar until the denial comes.

That was certainly the case in relation to Clive Grunshaw, the man who, as a police and crime commissioner, is responsible for ensuring the people of West Lancashire are safe in their beds at night.

The other morning, a statement from his PR people winged its way to Mr B, explaining how Grunshaw had referred himself for investigation into alleged "discrepancies" in his expenses.

Really? Mr B was not alone in not knowing anything about this particular issue - until now, that is.

Thanks to his PR people's decision to send out the denial statement to all and sundry the way some people send out Christmas cards, a story that would otherwise have largely sunk without trace became a story.

ON the issue of Christmas cards, that same police commissioner's PR people did in fact send out an e-Christmas card - or two. Albeit the first was far more, err, festive than the second.

It came with a picture on the front of three of the PR women from Mr Grunshaw's office striking Charlie's Angels poses, their heads superimposed atop three slinky women's bodies (well, Mr B assumes they were superimposed).

But, given this is the time of festive cheer, he thought little more of it.

But then, within minutes, another arrives, this one far more sedate, with just a picture of a snowman in a wintry scene.

The first, it was explained, was sent out by mistake.

And once more the story that wasn't a story became a story!

LIVERPOOL council's own experience of the mix of PR and Christmas cards has been a sore point in the past. Who could ever forget December 2009 - before the onset of austerity the following year - when the authority reminded us all why it had been ranked the worst financially managed council in the country the year before.

Some shrewd officer had managed to strike a deal on the bulk-buying of the tailor-made cards: and what a deal it was - it only worked out costing the taxpayer a mere £7 a card!

THIS week Liverpool council has been interviewing candidates to be its new spin doctor.

Mr B enquired of one close to proceedings if there were anyone interesting amongst the complement, but was told: "No, mainly dull public sector types."

However, Mr B would say to the council that he himself would come a lot cheaper than £90,000, and is no stranger to having his advice ignored or being on the end of Mayor Joe Anderson's wrath when some things just can't be spun favourably.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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