Syria David Cameron Ed Miliband

Syria brings an end to the silly season as political PR battles begin


By Andy Barr | Head Yeti

August 30, 2013 | 4 min read

Oh hello dear reader, it would appear that the UK has risen from the silly season slumber with a bang this week. Tragically, it has taken some devastating and truly horrific activities over in Syria to wake everyone up but everyone is now on the edge of their seat to see what happens.

Cameron is facing the toughest battle of his tenure on both the PR, and more importantly, the life and death stakes.

Round one in the PR action would probably be called a score draw as Milli-bland pulled the plug on action being taken, damaging Cameron, but done in such a way that made the Labour head-shed appear a ditherer and weak. Meanwhile, Cameron failed to shift the media agenda away from what was actually going on, to convincing the press that immediate action was needed.

We can see what Milli-bland tried to do, he tried to use the Syria situation as a way to prove to the UK population that he was his own man, that he had learned from past Labour leaders mistakes of going into war without comprehensive and overwhelming evidence (WMD anyone?).

The reality though is that a considerable portion of the UK population clearly think this was just about politics and that is a dangerous position for him to be in when we are fed daily images of families and children allegedly being subject to chemical weapon attacks.

Milli-bland is already in a difficult enough position when you consider that senior members of the Labour party are clearly and openly briefing against him and his decision could be the final nail in the coffin for his reign as Leader.

Cameron on the other hand faces an entirely different challenge in my eyes. He is a slick operator and I don’t think the military action vote defeat will be nearly as devastating as many pundits are proclaiming, however, it has once again shown that his team maybe lack the steel and drive to force the serious issues through.

In my opinion Cameron needs an Alistair Campbell. Say what you will about AC but he was, in my eyes, the best political PR ever to have been, and these are not words I use lightly. Incidentally, go and read his books, the most compelling political and PR diaries I have ever read and ones that every student of public relations should read.

The news this week that the Sun's Deputy Political Editor, Graeme Wilson, has been appointed as Downing Street’s Press Secretary is a sign that the inner circle gets the need for Cameron to have that strong buffer that he seemingly lacks at the minute.

For me, this is the difference between Cameron and Milli-bland; Cameron has a good network around him and most importantly he listens to them and makes notable strategic appointments to try and firm up areas of weakness. Milli-bland is seemingly surrounded by a dwindling team who are not getting through to him, or who he is choosing to ignore.

For me, it is just a matter of “when” and not “if” Milli-bland goes. With the opening salvos in the General Election campaigns being fired though, it needs to be soon if Labour want to stand any chance of winning back the big job.

Goodbye silly season and welcome back from your holidays everyone, hold onto your hats.

Syria David Cameron Ed Miliband

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