I am a computer logistician by profession. I can tell you all about managing defective material retention contracts and the comparative stocking strategies of power supplies. I don’t pretend to be an expert in communications.
So the following comes under the heading of “as any fule kno”, and therefore these statements are easy to make when, like me, you don’t know what you are talking about.
Communications Rule One
The first rule of media crisis management was succinctly summarised for me on a con call a few months ago:
“When a crisis breaks get all your dirty washing out into the open in the ‘first hour’. Be surprisingly confessional in one hit immediately and then shut up. Go into complete lockdown and don’t say another word (virtually).”
That is what the PR crisis managers tell you.
Communications Rule Two
I suspect there is a similar rule for internal communications. Keep the troops informed. If some issue breaks, then explain it to the troops straight away. Indeed, this rule has been religiously followed by the Lib Dem leadership in the last couple of years. If something happens, we get an email explaining it.
So I think it is reasonable to ask: What, in the name of Sam Hill, happened to rule one and two in the Liberal Democrats in the last two weeks?
Rule One was completely turned inside out and the opposite was done for the Rennard allegations question. “They” decided to put out piecemeal bits every day or so, just for a bit of a laugh. They are still doing it. Great fun for all!
Rule Two was just buried under six feet of stony silence for the secret courts afair.
What on earth is going on?
Why on earth are such huge basic mistakes in communications management being made?
* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is Wednesday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Liberal Burblings.