The Tory Party: One big PR disaster

October 17, 2011

Every morning, David Cameron must get out of bed, and feel as if he is walking through a storm without an umbrella. And instead of being soaked in water, he’s drowning in collective Cabinet shit. The Tory front bench, is a PR disaster, almost on a daily basis now. The media is totally in control of the image of the Tory Party. This is a sign of great weakness. There is no PR man controlling the public image of the Tory party any more. The days of painting David Cameron as a “Compassionate Conservative” are dead. The ball is now fully in the court of the media.

Even when we leave aside the fact that they have taken a weak economy that no one thought could get much worse, and made it far worse than anyone could have ever sat and imagined, the drivel that comes out of their mouths, and the antics they get up to, is enough to astound even the least interested in politics among us.

On the subject of the economy; growth had been downgraded from Osborne’s Office of getting everything entirely wrong, all the fucking time Budget Responsibility, five times. Three times before the Eurozone crises really started to take hold. The first time, the Tories blamed Labour. Everything was Labour’s fault. Then, in December 2010, when growth was downgraded again, they blamed the snow. Then the Royal Wedding. Then Europe. Surely the inherently racist Tory party can’t be far away from blaming black people?

Today, the Climate Secretary Chris Huhne, (admittedly, a Lib Dem, but that is so similar to Tory now, it really doesn’t need a distinguishing disclaimer) came out of a meeting with the big energy companies in the hope of striking a deal to bring down the cost of energy in the UK, as its rising rapidly out of control. Huhne’s interview with the BBC went something like this:

BBC: How did the meeting go?
Huhne: Very very very well!!
BBC: And what can we expect to happen?
Huhne: Well, if you switch providers all will be fine blah blah out of touch bollocks.
BBC: Did the energy companies concede anything?
Huhne: Well, if you switch providers all will be fine blah blah even more out of touch, skirting the question bollocks.
BBC: So it’s the consumer’s fault?
Huhne: Well, if you switch ….. you see where this is going.

– To sum up, Huhne thinks if we all switch to a cheaper tariff, we’ll all save money. The problem is, the difference between one company and another, is the difference between £1, and £0.99p. We know there are options, but the options are raping our bank accounts collectively. Ofgem reported last week, that the average profit margin for energy companies had risen from £15 per person in June… to……… £125 in September. That is vastly unacceptable. The bosses of these companies continue to blame wholesale prices of oil. Now, if profit margins had stayed the same, despite the rise in the price to the consumer, then they’d have a point. But you cannot increase your profit by such a huge quantity, and then claim it is the fault of wholesale prices. Huhne, is a PR disaster.

It goes without saying, that Theresa May and Kenneth Clarke are PR disasters, after the Tory Party Conference this year. For a quick refresher, May had used her speech to pour unnecessary and dangerous fuel onto the fire of a Nationalism that already burns far too bright in this Country. She was arguing against the Human Rights Act (a document so important, that May’s only argument against it, was an entire lie. She should be sacked for that alone). To do this, she said:

“The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – I am not making this up – because he had a pet cat.”

– The problem was, she had made it up. She is the personification of the Daily Mail. When you cannot find a legitimate reason to promote hate and anger; just make it up. When a Minister hasn’t checked their facts, has resorted to UKIP style populist politics to provoke anger and outrage and something that simply isn’t true, to then use the phrase “I’m not making this up” is so indescribably amateurish, one has to wonder how any of these people are in the position of power they currently occupy.
The story itself – the cat loving illegal immigrant – is wrong. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary and May’s cabinet Tory colleague responded to her speech, by saying:

“I’ve never had a conversation on the subject with Theresa, so I’d have to find out about these strange cases she is throwing out.”
“They are British cases and British judges she is complaining about.
“I’ll have a small bet with her that nobody has ever been refused deportation on the grounds of the ownership of a cat.”

The Judicial Communications Office said this:

“This was a case in which the Home Office conceded that they had mistakenly failed to apply their own policy – applying at that time to that appellant – for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK”.
“That was the basis for the decision to uphold the original tribunal decision – the cat had nothing to do with the decision.”

– So, May was wrong. She made up the story. She lied. But it gets even better. Chris Huhne (the PR disaster mentioned previously) tried to send a message on Twitter to his friend, saying:

“From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story”

– This is in relation, to being exposed as the person pointing our the “i’m not making this up” speech by May was eerily familiar to Nigel Farage’s (leader of Far Right UKIP) speech, in which he said:

“Should not be deported because – and I really am not making this up – because he had a pet cat!”

– Huhne notified a Guardian journalist to the exact, word for word quote “similarities” between the speeches. But accidentally tweeted to all of his subscribers that he didn’t want his fingerprints on this story. So, May is a PR disaster. Clarke is a PR disaster. And Huhne is a double PR disaster. Brilliantly, Nick Clegg waned into the argument by saying, quite beautifully:

“They were both right.”

– N’awww…….what a cock.

Until recently (having declared he wont stand for re-election) Tory MEP Roger Helmer is responsible trying to justify his speeding, by saying:

“No matter how fast you are going, you get people passing you.”

And an email to a 17 year old animals rights activist, with:

“I am not prepared to join the seal campaign, because while I agree that the culling of seals by beating them over the head is not very pleasing and aesthetic, I think it is probably fairly quick and humane…
“I challenge the use of your term “innocent baby seals”, because
(A) Seals are not morally competent, and therefore cannot be innocent or guilty;
(B) I think it is mawkish, sentimental and unhelpful to adopt a “Bambi” attitude to animals, or to seek to anthropomorphise them – I wonder if you would have the same sentimental view of rats or tarantulas? – if not, why not?
(C) In one sense the seals are guilty (without any moral responsibility), for damaging fish stocks and the livelihoods of local fishermen.
“Your sympathy for dumb animals does you credit, but my advice would be that you save your concerns for people rather than animals.”

And on the subject of date rape:

“…the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind.”

– Roger Helmer, not only is one of the worst human beings I have ever had to displeasure to read about, but also, a massive PR disaster.

Liam Fox’s friendship with lobbyist Adam Werrity is a PR disaster for so many reasons, it’s almost too big a story to try to dissect. Needless to say, using public funds to pay a lobbyist, and to claim thousands of pounds of public money to allow a lobbyist to stay rent free in your flat, is never going to end well. Especially when you’re the Minister in control of the Nation’s defence system. When that same lobbyist, who is almost entirely funded by public money, is able to bypass official channels because he is friends with the Defence Secretary, and arrange meetings with private companies for commercial purposes; the Defence Secretary automatically becomes… not just a PR disaster, but a massive moron of a PR disaster. When that same lobbyist is given over £140,000 by a property investor with ties to Israel and an intelligence firm with links to Sri Lanka, whilst he accompanies the Defence Secretary as an “advisor”, on trips abroad, not only is the Defence Secretary a massive moron of a PR disaster, he is a dangerous PR disaster.

Oliver Letwin, Minister of State for Policy, photographed dumping confidential documents in a bin on St James’ park, a few months after saying no one wants to see a poor family from Sheffield going on holiday abroad. Oliver Letwin, PR disaster.

Caroline Spelman, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs plans in late 2010 to sell off a third of the 1.85 million acres of British forests to private investors for the sake of Hotel Resorts and Theme parks, only to have the Prime Minister admit he’d never given permission for that, and for the entire thing to be shelved. Where’s the communication?

George Osborne, who seems to keep being on TV insisting that the UK is leading the way out of the financial crises, that his plan will work, and that all will be fine. He says this, whilst the poverty rate increases – more on this point later – whilst unemployment is very very close to hitting the 3 million mark, whilst youth unemployment is at its worst since the 1980s (coincidentally at the time of the previous Tory government), whilst wages are stagnating, whilst output is dropping, whilst homelessness increases, whilst inflation is slowly getting out of control, whilst energy bills are now unworkable, and whilst dropping growth figures show that we are very very close to another recession. George Osborne is a PR disaster.

Philip Hammond, New Secretary of Defence, tells BBC’s Question Time, that allegations of his tax avoidance (he’s a multi-millionaire who said he’d continue to claim £30,000 a year of public money to fund his second home) by Channel 4’s dispatches were:

“Completely unfounded innuendo and unfortunately if you go into public life you have to accept that innuendo’s will be made against you to which you don’t always have the opportunity to reply.”

To which, the follow up question:

“So were the allegations that you’d moved shares into your wife’s name and that you took dividends rather than income, wrong?”

– was answered rather spectacularly by Hammond, with:

“Neither of those facts are incorrect”

– Unfounded innuendo one second, but absolutely true the next. Brilliant. Phillip Hammond, is a PR disaster, whilst also managing to be a smug twat about it.

How weak Cameron is looking. He needs an Alastair Campbell. His one attempt to attract an Alastair Campbell type figure, was Andy Coulson….. a massive PR disaster. They are one PR disaster after another, day after day, idiots running the Country and being exposed as idiots every time they show their contemptuous, nasty little faces.

The problem this represents for those of us on the left, is that the actual issues do not get publicised (perhaps i’m partly responsible for that, given the nature of this blog) enough. The BBC chose to almost entirely ignore 2000 people blocking the bridge the day of the NHS Bill moving to the Lords. The big issues, like the NHS bill, that have grave consequences for all of us that believe in a Nationalised, free health service, are put to one side, because Letwin uses a bin. And so, public discourse focuses almost entirely on the image of the Government, rather than the disastrous and dangerous ideological economic project they are inflicting on Country. Policy gets pushed aside, the underlying nasty nature of Theresa May’s made up cat story, is ignored. This can only work to benefit the Tories. Nobody voted for such a big NHS reform. Nobody voted for a huge hike in tuition fees. The Tories are getting away with shifting vast sums of wealth to very rich individuals and businesses, and the docile English population is too engaged in the fact that Liam Fox has a friend. Perhaps there comes a time when endless PR disasters can be used to benefit an unpopular government and its very undemocratic and ideologically motivated agenda.

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