Posts Tagged ‘mps’

Dorries’ Jungle Stunt Takes Balls

Before even gobbling down her first kangaroo gonad, Tory Nadine Dorries has unleashed a storm of criticism for her decision to appear in televisual Hades I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, with David Cameron yesterday backing her suspension from her duties as MP.  A rash of politicos have been quick to follow suit.

But let’s not be too quick to dismiss her stunt. It’s a bold move, and I applaud her bravery. As we know from her outspoken stance on abortion in 2011, Dorries’ is not a woman afraid of the limelight. Appearing in a show like this takes guts, and it is heartening to see a politician willing to take a risk, particularly in a week that has seen political paranoia ramped up to the max in the wake of Savilegate, resulting in the retrospective inquiry into the allegations of child abuse in North Wales.

She has taken advantage of an opportunity to bring her brand to a younger generation who feel disconnected with politics. Play her hand well, and she could genuinely change the way an apathetic public think about politicians, or even prompt them to think about them at all. In the jungle, she will have a space to air her views in terms the man in the street will relate to- and with 16 million watching, it is a platform not to be sniffed at. Whether the timbre of her stance on sexual politics will resonate with ordinary people remains to be seen.

It’s a high risk move. She has perhaps underestimated the power of the edit. The ultimate winners will of course be ITV, who have once again served up a compelling cast of those blinded by fame and ambition; a collection of individuals worthy of Greek tragedy. Gifts from reality TV producers are rarely what they seem and should be handled with care.

As far as Dorries goes, the proof of the pudding will lie in the eating. Will she have the personality, wit and humanity to survive and prosper in the jungle?  Or will she ultimately prove as unpalatable as a scorpion’s scrotum?

Election Stuntwatch: The Rise of Old Media

When I was 19, the publicist Theo Cowan – this country’s first pro celebrity PR wrangler, who created the Rank Charm School, an acting school run the Rank Film company that brought the world Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Christopher Lee, Diana Dors and more – granted me an audience in Poland Street. “Keep your clients’ feet on the ground,” he told me. “NEVER let someone believe a good review!”

This is advice that needs to be handed on to Nick Clegg, after last night’s second Leaders’ Debate. He appeared to have spent the week following his remarkable showing in the first debate positively wallowing in the good reviews. Certainly his people believed the good press enough to let Clegg give Brown and Cameron enough room to make up lost ground. That said, he survived pretty well mostly thanks to the MPs’ expenses scandal allowing too many people to see the puppet strings in this campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

Same Old New Old Year

I spent a little of last night, as the festive season faded and a whole new year and the return to work hove into view, watching the latest iteration of Celebrity Big Brother wipe it’s arse across my TV screen. As the usual array of desperate people, half-arsed film heroes and one hit blips on the music radar began to settle into the Big Brother house, in much the same fashion as their predecessors had last year, I got to thinking – is 2010 going to be any different from 2009? Will we have ANYTHING new in the coming months, rather than just a retread of everything that’s gone before? As we seep into January, it seems not. Read the rest of this entry »

Andy Coulson: Tapping in to the Tories

As the former editor of the News of the World turned PR man for David Cameron, Andy Coulson’s appearance before the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee the other day was always likely to be difficult – this is a high-pressure enquiry into the phone hacking scandal.

His performance was a masterstroke, however – a blend of careful honesty and equally careful image management. Coulson came across as forthright and honest – and he looked relaxed in a suit that could easily have graced the pages of GQ. Importantly, he did not battle the MPs he was facing but was carefully compliant.

There’s no doubt that he knows not to make himself the story – he kept his personality in the background and presented the facts as he saw them. It was abundantly clear, from this appearance, that he has been a major influence on the Tory front bench and on David Cameron in particular. Watching him conducting himself told us much about how he is working with the Tories.

He was as impressive as Alastair Campbell used to be in the same role for Tony Blair, although he cuts a very different dash from Campbell. Where Campbell was more of a Nobby Stiles, Coulson comes across as something of a Cardinal Richelieu, albeit a Richelieu who is prepared to admit his mistakes, which is more than can be said for some MPs.

But would he rather be the PR man for a likely future Prime Minister or to have remained in the editor’s chair at the News of the World? He fell on his sword for the sake of the Murdoch empire in 2007 after the phone tapping scandal involving rogue agents, having carefully built a career in journalism. I would imagine that there’s still a sense of loss about that lurking in the carefully polished depths.

At a time when Sunday newspapers are under ever greater pressure to land scoops – whatever the method and consequence – I imagine Coulson’s safe with the Tories for now, especially since he handled himself so effectively under pressure in front of the Commons select committee and given that his media management of the Tories has, on the whole, been equally effective. He certainly proved he’s an asset to David Cameron in front of the select committee and despite calls for his resignation, I would suggest that he’s not likely to leave this job at present.