Monday, 26 July 2010

How do you solve a problem like Vince?

"Brokeback Coalition" was a crude and rather flippant put down *allegedly* by David Davis but it was just the latest in a long line of snide remarks from alienated grassroots members of both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg's senior teams are undoubtedly prepared for these attacks and have so far adopted consistent rebuttals without appearing to worry about them.

What the coalition aren't prepared for at this early stage is off message briefings from the front line. This is exactly what has started to happen with the Lib Dems though whose Ministers seem to be unable to turn down the chance to speak into a microphone without considering the implications first.

From Clegg's attack on Jack Straw at PMQs to Lynne Featherstone's rantings over woman's breasts, the party seems incapable of learning from David Laws' early blunder.

All these issues pale into comparison when compared to Vince Cable.

Vince Cable, the man who could do no wrong is no Vince the feeble, a man choking on his famous 'Mr Bean' criticism of Gordon Brown.

From graduate tax to bank lending ( Vince is ploughing his own field, the anguish of compromise written all over his face.

This compromise is undermining the coalition's fiscal credibility at a crucial time for the economy. There is no time to play the hard done man, Cable must commit himself to the work of government and designate more briefings or Osborne and Cameron must remove him.

With every mixed message the dissenting party voices will grow bolder. The PM needs to find out if Cable can truly commit to the work ahead and if not he simply must remove him from office before Christmas.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

South Africa can look to the World Cup final after successful PR operation - but what next?

Sunday will see a new name on the World Cup as Spain and Holland battle it out but for the host nation, the Public Relations team can breathe a sigh of relief.

A tournament marked by pre-event mutterings of discontent from the Western media didn't get off to the best of starts with steward strikes, as locals saw the opportunity to improve working conditions with a well timed strike:

Some swift action by the government put the strike down and out of the news agenda and since then most of the media coverage has been focused on the football taking place.

In this respect, South African officials must be relieved. Yet this campaign will be judged by the long term economic impact on the country and no matter how much officials look to control the flow of information the world will expect results.

It seems, however, that the world should not hold its breathe. Only recently a major pay strike amongst construction workers was avoided that could have jeopardised the World Cup final ( and this adds to the sense that once the TV cameras have stopped rolling, the money in the local economy will leave with them.

This is why it is so important to return to South Africa, to find out exactly how the country has developed. From their perspective, they must be open and proactive in giving the world's media the examples of development and increased local prosperity which can drive the legacy of the tournament.

Whether or not these examples exist, we shall see.