Tories play the victim

This is Paul Baverstock of MHP Communications writing in the Financial Times today on the specific topic of a company which has had an information security breach, compromising customer personal and financial details. His advice is solid and sound for all kinds of problems. Customers have a right to expect a company which has let them down

  • to be contrite and transparent, not defensive or evasive
  • to give clear and sincere responses, rather than formulaic or legalistic
  • information provided should be consistent
  • give timelines for the progress you’re making to remedy the situation.
  • above all, “don’t play the victim”

He quotes a spokeswoman from Visa, the credit card company:

Instead, companies should ensure their response passes the “kitchen table test”, says Ms Whenman. “My advice to clients is always to ask: ‘Will the information we’re providing make sense to the customer sitting at their kitchen table? Will our actions and decisions seem reasonable to them? Does our response answer the questions they’ll be asking themselves?”

I’m obliged to John Prescott for retweeting this response from John Olsen, who is MD and Head of Engineering & Industrials at MHP Communications, but notes “Views my own.”

Nearly two years after Tories and LibDems lost the election and went into coalition to run the country, George Osborne has had a free hand to cut, cut, cut, and cut some more. Osborne believes in austerity – for others. Unemployment is at 2.65 million.

The UK economy is now in a double-dip recession. This graph shows the UK GDP from 1970-2010 – it shows an unsteady but consistent rise, peaking in 2007, then a sharp fall as the banks crashed.

This graph shows UK GDP growth 2010-2011, quarterly data. The Tory/LibDem coalition took office… and the economy, at best, flatlines. People are losing jobs. Services people depended on are being cut. VAT goes up. The economy shrinks. This isn’t a good picture. With the dip in the GDP again in the first quarter of 2012, the economy is now in recession – counted as when the GDP shrinks two quarters in a row – what is the Tory line?

They’re presenting themselves as victims.

Now, cheap-work conservatives may very sincerely believe that the UK economy’s reaction to Osborne’s policies of tax cuts for the rich, job cuts for public sector workers, and service cuts for the 99%, is all Labour’s fault – for teaching us to expect better?

Tories in government are defensive and evasive; they give formulaic and legalistic responses; they don’t provide consistent information: their timelines appear to be as consistent as a bus timetable during the tramworks: and all of them, and their little buddies the LibDems, play the victim card at every opportunity: “This is Labour’s fault!”

Mr Olsen, should you read this, I’m interested: do you pay attention to the other parts of the MHP Communication business at all? The MD for Public Affairs at MHPC, Fiona Holroyde, says of their lobbying business:

Whilst others may find politicians and regulators hard to speak to or a mystery to understand, we know what matters to them and how to convince them with the sound arguments that will win their support for your case.

It’s all Labour’s fault. Let’s play the victim. That’ll make the case at the kitchen table, will it?

But to me Paul Baverstock sounds like he’s giving very good advice.

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