The tragic Grenfell Tower inferno again highlighted the fact that history will continue to repeat itself until lessons are learnt and action taken.
My reputation around the world for the accuracy of my predictions of human behaviour, trends and election results and the likely media coverage is based not only on psychology and magic but an understanding that history always repeats itself.
As a lawyer and strategic business adviser I work with several diverse companies and brands. Once you cut through the particular industry jargon it is clear that the challenges faced are substantially the same.
Lessons could – and should - be learned. The startling reality is that devastating consequences can be avoided if appropriate steps are taken.
"When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions"
Over the last few weeks we have witnessed some of the most horrific events. The Grenfell Tower fire came fast on the heels of the terrorist atrocities at Westminster Bridge, the Manchester Ariana Grande Concert and London Bridge - acts of appalling, sickening cowardice.
Again, today we hear of another terrorist attack at Finsbury Park.
Stay away May
In the event of a disaster we expect our leaders to meet the victims, show empathy and provide reassurance.
Enter stage left London mayor Sadiq Khan and stage right Theresa May...
The reactions to both initial visits to Grenfell were predictable. Shock had already been replaced by anger. Many were livid at the government’s response to the tragedy. People wanted answers.
The media showed Khan being confronted by seven year-old Kai Ramos asking: “How many children died? What are you going to do about it?”
The reaction to May was far worse. Confidence in the Prime Minister was already in freefall having gone from hubris to humiliation in the election.
May ventured to Grenfell having been painted as the one to blame. That initial visit was appalling. May was portrayed as cold and unable to find the meaningful response we expect from our leaders.
Writing in the Guardian, Polly Tohnbee pointed out: “That tomb in the sky will be forever May’s monument. Grenfell marks the spot and her visit marks the moment the last vestiges of her career were finally rubbed out. She made it her own... by that fateful 'visit' to a handful of senior fire officers, guarding her from any contaminating contact with the bereaved and newly homeless. Dead to emotion or empathy, she sealed her fate.”
Where May got it so wrong the Royal Family – and the Queen – in particular got it so right.
The Queen together with Prince William mingled with the crowds and met victims.
In an unprecedented and powerful statement on her official birthday on 17 June the Queen said: “Today is traditionally a day of celebration. This year, however, it is difficult to escape a very’ sombre national mood.”
As the Sunday Times screamed on its front cover on 18 June: 'When the Queen is our chief consoler, you know PM is lost'. It was one of the most historic messages from the Palace. While politicians are reviled the Royal Family got it right.
This seems to have been a complete role reversal from 20 years ago around the reaction to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The media was critical of the Queen's initial lack of public response whereas then prime minister, Tony Blair, captured the feelings of the nation.
Her Majesty clearly appears to have learned the lessons from history whereas May and her advisers have ignored them and now suffer the consequences.
Those managing May’s brand need to take urgent steps.
As the Brexit negotiations start today, 19 June, amid concerns that she may lose the vote on the Queen’s speech Theresa may be in office but she is not in power. The knives are out.
June may not be the end of May but unless drastic steps are taken to change perceptions it is only a matter of time.
If there are particular stories you feel should be subjected to a pressure test to find out whether they really stand up to serious scrutiny or you want help to avoid the predictable errors and omissions of others get in touch...