These people give politicians a bad name
Today's Yorkshire Post reports that the Department for Transport is investing in evaluating its media coverage. Why is this a story, surely it's part of every professional PR activity? Well yes of course it is, but it hasn't stopped two of Yorkshire's newest MPs from attempting to make political capital out of criticising it.
This wouldn't be so bad if they were just ordinary MPs, after all lots of people don't understand PR and might believe the "big brother monitoring" spin that the Yorkshire Post has given it. But these MPs both should have known better. They both worked in professional marketing before becoming MPs. PR and marketing both suffer an image problem with politicians. They are an easy target if you want to paint the opposition party as wasting money. PR and marketing professionals know this isn't true therefore those of us who enter politics have a duty to be honest and truthful about the importance of both for central and local government.
Greg Mulholland and Philip Davies should hang their heads in shame. Their behaviour is exactly what gives politicians a bad name. The only conclusions that you can draw from their comments is that either they were very, very bad at their previous jobs (which I don't believe) or that they have decided to cynicaly mislead the public to score cheap political points. Either way they are a disgrace to both marketing and politics.
Below I've pasted a copy of my letter to the Yorkshire Post:
Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland and Tory MP Philip Davies both worked in marketing before becoming MPs. You would expect then that less than 12 months after becoming MPs they would still have a basic grasp of the fundamentals of their profession. Unfortunately both appear to be keener on providing misleading sound bites rather than using their professional expertise for the benefit of the public.
Their ridiculous attack on the Department for Transport for investing in evaluating its communications strategy by measuring media coverage (Yorkshire Post, December 5) shows why politicians are held in such low esteem. As MPs they have a duty to ensure that taxpayers money is being spent effectively. Instead of using their professional expertise to provide informed comment they have both jumped on to a populist band wagon to deliberately mislead the electorate.
As a professional public relations consultant I, like every other taxpayer, would be most alarmed if money was being squandered on a communications campaign that was not being monitored and evaluated in order to assess how it can be improved to deliver more cost effective results. The Department for Transport has a duty to inform, listen to and consult with the public. That's what we all expect. We should also expect them to deliver value for money and to spend tax payers money effectively. Evaluating media coverage is common practice throughout private business and the public sector. The Department of Transport is simply conducting its business in a professional manner.
Greg Mulholland criticises the government?s ?obsession with spin? at the same time as proving by his misleading comments that he is master of the art of spin! Sadly both Mulholland and Davies are more interested in scoring cheap political points rather than contributing intelligently to the debate and concentrating on improving transport in Yorkshire.