Wednesday, 29 September 2010

David Milliband's procrastination was his downfall - not his brother

So, David Milliband has retreated to the backbenchers and the media are pouring over the 'fratricide' committed by Ed Milliband.

Enough has been written about that to last several months but what I don't understand is why nobody has discussed the fact that David Milliband's chance of power didn't just vanish when the Unions backed his brother; it traces back to 2009 and the resignation of James Purnell

David Milliband and James Purnell were long regarded as the bright young stars of the Labour party and as Gordon Brown's popularity first hit rock bottom, they were regarded by many as rivals for top position

Yet it is clear that the two men wanted to avoid the fate of their predecessors and work together, with David Milliband taking on the roll as party leader and James Purnell presumably promoted to a senior Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet role.

Yet when Purnell resigned to force the deeply unpopular Prime Minister from office, Milliband had his Hamlet moment. Instead of pulling the trigger, he dithered. After a weekend of procrastination, David Milliband chose not to follow his friend and instead offer lukewarm support to the besieged Prime Minister; a trick he repeated in January this year:

Perhaps this failure to act has haunted Milliband, who had reportedly discussed bringing Purnell back into the fold should he had become leader

Yet it's all too late now for the elder Milliband brother. No matter what the commentators say, his brother did win legitimately and David Milliband has probably forever lost his chance at power - unless something extraordinary happens.

So David Milliband must regret his failure to follow James Purnell out and force the leadership contest that would have guaranteed him leadership and potentially the title of Prime Minister - an aspiration now held by his younger brother.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Hyper-local newspapers article in Monocle magazine

I felt I had to draw attention to the fascinating report on the future of hyper-local newspapers in MONOCLE magazine this month

Having family in Inverness I was especially interested in the West Highland Free Press case study. The message of the article is clear, at a time when people are abandoning some bigger regional and national newspapers, hyper-local newspapers have the advantage of knowing their readers better than anybody - because they are the readers.

Yet many of these hyper-local newspapers do not carry copy or full copy on their websites, meaning they are distinct from hyper-local websites. That's interesting, as I have spoken before about how great some of the hyper-local websites are, especially for engaging community groups and giving them a voice to replace the content axed from many regional papers.

But if hyper-local newspapers are going to focus away from daily content, they may end up giving more. The MONOCLE article speaks of niches they have developed globally; from 'scoop' specialists in New Zealand, to student orginated newspapers in South Africa. It's local people giving local news without joining the daily copy arms race faced by regional papers. It's almost as if these hyper-local papers don't feel the pressure and they are liberated by it.

Life is local, and we'd all better get used to it. What a great article, go and give it a read.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Pope visits Britain

Did anyone watch the Pope in 3D today? HD? It's amazing isn't it, to be able to watch the first papal visit to Britain since 1982 in such resplendent colour, such crisp images. I had to go to the lavatory a few times, but luckily I was able to pause the Pope on my Sky+ and come back.

The Popemobile as well, did you see it? Made the batmobile look like a shed on wheels. I hear Mercedes made it specially, where can you get one? Now that IS a company car.

Wall to wall Pope TV coverage, brand recongition, this is truly great PR, he is just unlucky he missed ultimate Big Brother by a week.

Can you imagine the Holy See and Davina, 'I'm coming to get you!' - TV gold.

So well done, your Holiness, you have turned this secular world on its head. You've rebuilt the trust in the Church with some old fashioned PR and a great set of wheels.

Who said Britain was devoured by secularism?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sunday Mirror to run 'Wayne Rooney 'vice girl' exclusive'?

Rumours have it on Twitter that the Sunday Mirror is running a new story on Wayne Rooney regarding a 'vice girl'.

What this means for one of Britian's most lucrative brands, we will have to wait and see. (Personally, I think it means the Labour Leadership battle is again off the front pages and you'll find candidates cursing the rumours as we speak!)

Seriously though, the response from the Rooney camp to the rumours - as that's all they are as I write this - will be interesting as Steven Gerrard was recently forced to issue a public statement in the face of similar rumours.

But do the public still have an appetite for these stories? I'm afraid so, sad as it may be - Sunday Mirror sales will already jump on the back of Twitter buzz.

Friday, 3 September 2010

My drum article on social media

Sorry for a self promoting post, but here's an article I have written in The Drum on Social Media - give it a gander and see if you agree...