With the nation heading back to work this morning and the dust beginning to settle on our ‘new world’ (which, outside of Westminster, looks remarkably similar to the old one thus far) talk in the GD PR & Media office has turned to the many communications professionals that will be working round the clock to ensure that both individual and party messages get delivered in the right tone, at the right time and to the right audience in the wake of Brexit.
Indeed, it must have been difficult for Tom Watson to hear the bands at Glastonbury this weekend over the collective crunching of gears as leader after leader jammed their party juggernauts into reverse. We had the PM offering up a perfectly poisoned chalice as he began packing his bags and heading for the Downing Street door, Nigel Farage quickly throwing the ‘promised’ NHS money in the bedpan, George Osborne rethinking his emergency budget and the entire Labour Party having a retrospective moment of clarity following a seemingly lacklustre showing by their leader in recent weeks.
Mr Corbyn’s team must be struggling to keep up with the current ins and outs being announced on TV, social media and that most archaic of media channels, the newspaper. Let’s just hope that they had the builders in over the weekend to install a revolving door, which will at least reduce congestion at Labour HQ!
We have already seen some interesting tactical moves by key players in this new Westminster-based soap opera that is currently gripping the nation. A number of the leading names are taking time to ‘talk to colleagues’ about their potential push for leadership. They will be receiving advice on timing and waiting long enough to ensure they don’t appear too callous following David Cameron’s resignation and if they have any sense, carefully gauging the mood of the nation in the wake of such a shocking week.
For weeks and weeks, you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing Boris Johnson’s face, yet just when you expected him to emerge triumphantly in a synonymously brash way as the saviour of Great Britain, he has suddenly come across all coy as he carefully plots his next move towards Number 10. Indeed, Mr Johnson’s team seem to be winning a number of key battles at the moment, with his more recent appearances showing a notably toned down and more informed approach. This will doubtless have been to win over those people who were still undecided this time last week and seemingly unimpressed by the circus that surrounds him. It has the added bonus of positioning him as a potential leader of the country, rather than the next big name to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house.
Likewise, Michael Gove and Theresa May have gone to ground as they sharpen their swords (and tongues) for a leadership fight that is likely to take no prisoners in the months to come.
Liam Fox has been the most vocal on the topic so far, suggesting that common sense would dictate that the next leader should come from the ‘Leave wing’ of the party, striking an early, yet slightly guarded, blow against Theresa May and George Osborne in particular. This seemed like the comms equivalent of checking the temperature of the bathwater, to see what the response would be, both in the party and across the nation, to putting himself forward.
Economic sense has meant that George Osborne, who was very vocal in ramping up the economic pressure in the lead up to last Thursday with his talk of an absolutely essential ‘emergency budget’, must think carefully about how he approaches the next few days; as the BBC’s Economic Editor Kamal Ahmed put it today, the Chancellor is currently in the unenviable position of ‘juggling daggers’.
We will certainly be watching with interest to see who will take the bold move of being the first to throw their hat in the ring to lead the Tories and as soon as they do, you can bet the others will follow soon after.
As a side note, it has been interesting to see that the one person who seems to have emerged from the past week smelling of roses is a banker; Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has been universally praised for his strong, poised response to the initial shockwaves seen across the markets on Friday morning.
Such is the rate of flux at present that I had better go and post this before too much else changes and I have to start all over again…