Monday, 12 December 2011

Nick Clegg's PR disaster

The term 'PR Disaster' gets touted around very freely by the media as a catch-all way of describing something which backfires on an individual or business. Often it is misleading; referring to something out of that individuals control.

If anyone describes Nick Clegg's decision not to attend the House of Commons today, to listen to the Prime Minister make a statement about the EU veto, in this way they are entirely accurate.

Clegg has had a poor time over the past few days. Seasoned political watchers will be aware that the deputy prime minister agreed to the negotiating position taken by David Cameron in Brussels early on Friday morning. They will also know that Clegg then publicly backed Cameron on TV later that same day. Now they see Clegg back-tracking fast.

Those who aren't glued to the comings and goings in Westminster - the vast majority of the country - will have been aware of the Prime Minister standing up for the UK last week. Their level of understanding on the issue will be vague. Now, because of Nick Clegg's fit of pique, they will become aware that Nick Clegg has changed his mind over supporting his boss and has chosen to show his displeasure. They may wonder why but may also conclude that, as with tuition fees for instance, Nick Clegg is a bit wishy-washy.

In trying to demonstrate that he is strong and independent of Cameron, Clegg has reminded people of his great weakness: people don't know what he stands for. That isn't just poor news management. That is what is known as a PR disaster.   

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