When Tony Blair was an aspiring MP, he gave a speech to newspaper Editors about ‘photo opportunities’. Up until that time, no-one had thought much about the science behind these pictures – but he and his team were to suss out every possible advantage to be gained from them.
Now, things have moved on, but we have a Prime Minister who seems desperate for his daily photo opportunity fix. It seems if Bojo can’t see his photo on a front page, dressed up in some extraordinary outfit, he is not a happy bunny. But to anyone involved in these junkets, they are a total waste of time and money. Nicola Sturgeon righty questioned Bojo’s recent visit to Scotlanf, citing his Government’s advice to “stay home.
She had a valid point’ there is a huge cost in time, manpower, not to mention diesel and petrol. First comes a massive preliminary recce. That takes up everyone’s time, and a lot of head-scratching. Reams of paper get churned out, ensuring anyone involved has a brief-case full of notes of what will happen every second of THE VISIT. Comes the great day, everyone is spruced up, far too involved to get on with work, and polishing every surface that might come within a mile of the VIP.
Up sweeps the VIP, with an entourage that would fill a small airport, leading a horde of press. All for a photo-opportunity to provide a pic for next day’s paper, plus a 30-second flash across that evening’s regional TV news.
I once wrote about the absurdity of these visits – not a very complimentary article – which was picked up by a Whitehall press officer and splashed on their official website. In the two days it was up on the site Google Analytics went stratospheric with my statistics. I only hope the Press Officer with the naughty sense of humour didn’t get the sack.
Contrast a political visit with that for Royalty. Much lower key; the Royals fully understand ‘green’ issues, and make do with as little entourage as the Police will let them. I once listened to Princess Anne dissuading a potential host from inviting her to visit, saying she could help in more practical ways behind the scenes, as she listed costs for police, etc.
We did once make full use of a Royal Visit for our comfort. Being involved in organising Army horse events, we often used Tweseldown Racecourse. On an exposed windswept hillside, it was not the most comfortable place for us females when it came to spending a penny. However, a judicious suggestion that Her Majesty should be invited to present an anniversary cup, and all of a sudden there was the Army, installing a ‘pink loo, female, for the use of’.
I don’t think Her Majesty ever used it, but we blessed her visit every cold day during the next winter events.
Moral of the story is: Bojo should stay in the office in Downing Street, and leave visiting to the Royals. They know how to arrive in a quiet way but spread the maximum amount of goodwill at the least cost. And perhaps improve his boorish manner towards others https://aftercancers.com/manners-maketh-man/