Sunday, August 07, 2011

We're all going on a summer holiday...

I don't think that anyone honestly believes that any national leader is out of contact whilst on holiday - the full panoply of electronic communications ensures that Cameron is in touch with home base and his senior colleagues. Gone are the days in the 1950s, when the control links to the PM for nuclear launch relied on the radio network of a motoring organisation, but that doesn't mean that we don't need a senior figure around on the spot and not rely on being able to drag the PM out of an Italian coffee shop or off the tennis court to try to look in touch and reassuring.

This week has been another serious failure in the government's communication strategy, as they have given the appearance of not being in control. Whilst it is true that governments are pretty much at the mercy of events, it isn't wise to remind the electorate and the markets that this is the case, otherwise you open yourself to claims that you are in government, but not in power.

I can't imagine that it has happened in recent years that so many senior government members have been allowed to disperse across the globe at the same time - imposing a genuine communications problem with the different time zones. Certainly, under Labour, the PM/DPM were never both unavailable and there was always a planned ministerial team available to manage issues and provide a public face if required and I suspect that things were similar under the last Tory government.

The problem now is that bringing the Chancellor or PM back to the UK now looks like panic - something not calculated to ease the volatility of the markets. It just looks like the business of government is appallingly badly managed and it also demonstrates the utter irrelevance of Clegg as deputy PM.

And next time, don't forget to get someone to look after the cat.

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