London Burns as Ministers Tan

Hands up who has been denied leave as too many people have tried to take the same week off in the summer? It’s pretty much a written rule in companies that holidays are staggered; never would all of the senior staff of a large organisation take leave at the same time. Yet the people in charge of the country think it’s ok leaving the office juniors in charge of running the country while they all pop off on their holidays…

It was just David Cameron’s luck to have his holiday in Tuscany rudely interrupted by rioters in Britain destroying his city and reputation all in one fail swoop. The riots started on Sunday following a protest after police shot dead Mark Duggan from Tottenham. The violence turned into widespread looting, and the chaos spread throughout the country to Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester over three nights. The country was in fear and needed a strong message of reassurance with a plan of authority from the start.

Instead what Britain got to its call for help was answer phones, out of office bounce backs and mixed messages from the people left in charge of running the country during Parliament’s summer break. A strong senior spokesperson was desperately needed as watching the evening news started to resemble viewing an apocalyptic horror film. Finally Cameron returned and called for “the country to pull together”. The PM fails to comprehend that his hesitation to return resulted in the country having to do exactly that, and “pull together” to defend itself where police were overwhelmed. Four people died while trying to protect their communities from a world gone mad.

Although social media has been criticised for becoming a helpless tool that aided looters to organize crime, the met police have made use of sites such as Twitter, resulting in a man being detained after posting pictures of himself with stolen goods. There has been a high volume of arrests but the situation is made even bleaker after discovering the influential occupations of those involved in rioting.  A teaching assistant was under suspicion, and even an 18 year old London 2012 Olympics ambassador has been reported to police by her family for her involvement in the rioting (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8696197/London-riots-the-2012-Olympics-ambassador-turned-in-by-her-mother.html).

Not only does the mayhem question the future of the country and the confidence in the PM, but also threatens the success of the Olympics. The world media has followed closely, and China have said that “the security situation in London, which has always been a first-choice site for terrorist attacks, will be even grimmer” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-14456635).  “Porter Novelli EMEA head of corporate Alex Woolfall said that if the police and Government could quickly act to stop the riots, then long-term reputational damage ahead of the Olympics could be limited” (http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/login/1084011/ ). Visitors to the UK booking their trips in advance may be deterred by the situation and this could have a damning effect on the games (http://www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk/blog/?p=619). Some extensive media training for all the spokespeople involved is probably going to be in order.

Cameron called back MP’s for an emergency meeting but was it enough? His PR team is going to have its work cut out after a summer of scandal and violence. Surely the perk of having a coalition government is more people to provide cover for each other when they take leave?

Written by Admin– www.bluewoodtraining.com – August 2011

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