November 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Politicans often make me grumpy – especially when they try to worm their way out of a scandal. This is my advice to them!
The first to remember when you find yourself caught in the headlights of the oncoming train that is the press, is to not panic. You need to forget all I have told you in the chapter about diverting blame because it is very difficult to blame anybody else for your particular skeleton. However, having one of your skeletons escape from its closet is not the end of the world; there is a 5-step method for dealing with embarrassing disclosures.
1. Deny, Deny, Deny
Deny everything. Whatever has appeared on the television, in the newspapers, on the internet, or has been talked about on the radio, or in all probability, if you have transgressed in a suitably spectacular way, on all types of media at the same time, is totally false, untrue and just somebody’s fevered imaginings. Somebody from your opposing political party is trying to smear your good name and you think it is disgraceful. Alternatively, if the situation permits, ‘they’ are deliberately misinterpreting a perfectly innocent activity. And no, you will certainly not be resigning as Minister. Deny, deny, deny.
2. Implausible Deniability
This is the second stage of the process and it usually occurs when there have been detailed documents, explicit photos, letters, or other very convincing information published a few days after the breaking of the scandal in the news. This is the time to fly in the face of all the evidence that is piling up against you and continue to deny that it is certainly not your signature on the memo, a photo of you taking money in a brown paper envelope, your name and not your wife’s on the share certificates, or you there in the hotel room with your pants around your ankles – despite the very clear and distinctive birthmark visible on your bum. This is simply not a plausible denial and nobody will believe you, but this is an integral part of the process because it is what the public expect of politicians. And no, you will certainly not be resigning as Minister.
3. I’m Really, Really Sorry
It is time to tender your resignation as Minister, which will be accepted with thinly disguised glee by the Prime Minister (who may well have orchestrated the whole thing to prevent you challenging him for his job). All of the denying has come to nothing and about a week or so after the beginning of this chain of events and you now need to say that you are sorry. You are sorry that you have let down your wife / business partner / children / party colleagues / Prime Minister / bank Manager / friends / the general public. What you are really sorry about is that anybody found out, but most politicians have the erroneous belief that secrets can be kept and you are no different. You now need to go and spend time with your family, recharging your batteries, reconnecting with your kids, getting away from the stressful environment of parliament, but above all you are really sorry, and I mean REALLY sorry, and you should suitably embarrassed and chastened when you front the media to read your apology. This is not time for jokes or having a smirk on your face.
4. Disappear from the Spotlight
Once the apology is out of the way it is time to quietly disappear for a while. The press will be trying to dig more dirt on you so I suggest you take a holiday – your party colleagues will understand, and probably be all too willing to get you away from trouble for a while. A trip to the Bahamas, a skiing holiday in the Alps, or a trip to a small cottage in the Channel Islands is recommends, but I hasten to add that this should be with your family and not your lover (just in case you needed to be reminded). You are going to spend time enjoying having no contact with the media and letting the taxpayers fund this gentle vacation. N reality it doesn’t matter if people find out that you are lazing on a beach somewhere because by now they will believe that you are a pretty awful person, a disgrace to all politicians, and quite possibly, the worst person in the country.
5. Sneak Back into the Country
Keep your eye on the papers because it won’t take long for some other poor sod, be they a politician, pop star, sporting personality, or television presenter, to screw up and make the front page through their uncontrolled lust, wilful wrongdoings, or incompetence. This is the time that you can re-enter the country and quietly resume your parliamentary duties. You can spend some time sympathising with the unfortunate person, or simply enjoying the fact that somebody else is getting hauled over the coals and not you – you are probably shallow enough to get that sort of satisfaction. You are now old news, yesterday’s villain, so you can relax in gorgeous anonymity and plan your comeback and start digging dirt on the Pr