Tony Blair’s aides want him on Blue Peter as part of a ‘farewell tour’. But are the presenters sure to go easy on him? Tim Dowling imagines how the chat might turn out. And Emine Saner asks PR experts how they would manage his exit.
Mark Borkowski (Vodafone, Virgin)
“They must be desperately embarrassed about this plan being leaked. The beauty of PR is for people not to understand what you’re doing so I would go right back to the drawing board and come up with a plan that would surprise people.
You have to choose what to do very carefully against the backdrop of how it will be pulled apart. If he goes on Jonathan Ross, or Sharon Osbourne’s show, or Charlotte Church, or if you put him on X Factor or Love Island, it all comes with the air of desperation for publicity. You could put him on Chris Evans’s or Terry Wogan’s radio shows and hit a huge amount of people but do people believe it?
I would look at a digital platform, to try to hit the first-time voters. That isn’t by getting Bono and Chris Martin to support him. He needs to take control and do something that demonstrates what little integrity the party and he have left. You’ve got to find a way to get him to open up, show him warts and all. YouTube could be a fantastic opportunity or MySpace. Give him a camera and put him on the web.”
But before I put him on anything, I would want to make sure he scored some goals. If there was a major disagreement with George Bush over something which showed he stood up for what we believed in, that we were not in America’s pockets, or if he got support from families of soldiers who have been killed, that would help.
He can sign off but not a triumphant farewell tour. He needs to bow out as gracefully as possible.”