Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Teflon David Cameron

'Teflon' David Cameron has done it again - latest Ipsos Mori poll figures show his highest ratings for the best part of two years. This is in stark contrast to the floundering Ed Milliband, wounded by a Union backlash to the Opposition support for the public sector pay freeze.

It's intriguing that the Prime Minister can continue to do well in the polls at a time when the country has faced a remarkable period of civil unrest, Union protest and rising unemployment.

Does it mean that the protesters are not getting their message across, or are in the minority?

I don't think protest movements are failing to get their messages across. They have had mountains of press coverage and real cohesion on social media, ensuring strikes like the NUT one had record attendees this summer.

Rather, it shows Cameron's skill is picking his moment to surface, letting his lieutenants fight the fires while he picks the battles the Daily Mail will support.

As to who can engage the disconnected middle ground I think it's clear that the disconnect is between those affected by the public sector cuts and those who aren't. The language of the 'middle ground' isn't pro-Government or pro-anyone, it is the language of 'working through the recession and looking after number one'. Thus as much as the protest movements are doing a good job in making their voice loud, they struggle to have that voice listened to as the middle ground isn't receptive.

It's difficult for any interest group or political party to become champion of such a difficult to define middle ground but Cameron is clearly finding more drives hit the green then Labour is. And as much mud as Ed Milliband or the protesters throw at the Prime Minister, it's just not sticking to 'Dave'.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Luis Suarez, racism and Liverpool FC's reputation

Liverpool Football Club has made a huge PR gaffe in their handling of the Luis Suarez racism charge.

The FA has not charged Mr Suarez with being racist but for providing unreliable evidence and for 'damaging the image of English football around the world'.

The Kopites have obviously challenged it so vigorously as they believe it is one man's word against another and feel they are victims of an overly harsh ban issued with no concrete evidence. A clash of cultures, they say.

Here lies the problem. This defence, led by their manager Kenny Dalglish, is so preoccupied with the defence of the player's reputation that they've allowed the club's to suffer.

With a global following unparalleled by very few clubs in the world, Liverpool FC has a duty of care to uphold the highest standards in the game and act as ambassadors for the sport. They have won many awards for their work - including racism.

By attacking the FA for attempting to uphold the 'Kick It Out' campaign, they are in effect undermining efforts to stamp out racism.

What they should have done straight away, is held their hands up and issued an apology to the FA, to Patrice Evra and to their fans. They could have then explained the offence wasn't intentional but a clash of cultures. 

Perhaps Suarez could have met with Evra to launch a new programme to help foreign players coming to England understand the culture and here and educate them. This would have shown a level of contriteness by the club and the player and could have led to the ban being reduced.

Instead, they have ended up sounding very much like disciples of David Brent, stumbling around racism so tactlessly that they give the very impression they were trying to avoid.

The club should have received better PR advice. Put the club before the man and be contrite. Then you can salvage the player's reputation and turn the situation around.