The central character of the comedy series Absolutely Fabulous worked in the world of PR – something that she did very badly. And bad PR was cringe inducing, which was the whole idea. Well, bad PR has come to Westminster, with the cobbling together of the new and improved two-headed donkey under the guidance of Young Dave.
And that PR is just as cringe inducingly bad as Ab Fab, with Cameron, who clearly fancies himself as a practitioner of the art, selling the donkey for all he’s worth, and as we all know, he’s worth a jolly big pile of money. But this week as he deployed those PR skills while introducing incoming Business Secretary Vince Cable to his civil servants, it did not disguise the awkwardness of the occasion.
Because those civil servants knew that, only days earlier, Young Dave and his jolly good chaps, egged on by their cheerleaders in the press and elsewhere, had been knocking lumps out of Cable and his reputation in a desperate effect to counter the popularity of Corporal Clegg. Moreover, Cable and Cameron both knew that the Lib Dems had been doing their level best to do the same to the Tories.
And what they also knew was that Cable had, until after the weekend following the election, leaned towards an alliance with Pa Broon and his pals: Cable started his political journey with Labour, and arrived in Lib Dem territory via the SDP. Thus the awkwardness.
No amount of confident PR deployment can cure the coalition of the significant amount of previous. Of course, in Ab Fab, the bad PR kept on coming, because there were more shows, and then more series, to do – and it was fictitious. In the real world, there is a limit to how much of what Cameron is doing to paper over the cracks can be tolerated.Especially without the laughs. Pats? Pats!?