Why the public shouldn’t hate ‘comms’: an open letter to Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris wrote on Saturday that people ‘hate comms’ for its slickness and vacuuity. This is my response to his comment.

Dear Matthew,

I enjoy your writing about politics, and the Conservative party you represented in Parliament during less febrile times.

Your analysis about the lack of new ideas in British politics today strikes a chord with me. I also share your despair at how this is playing out in the turgid Tory leadership contest.

You were right to warn on Saturday that the party is heading towards the abyss as things stand.

I was also struck by your comment about the comms profession’s supposed role in the campaigns, when saying:

“[Rishi Sunak] has fallen prey to the vultures of what we now call “comms” — professional communications advisers. A breed with a blind spot when it comes to the one truth about comms that matters: that the 21st-century British public hate comms, spot it a mile off, and walk away.”

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Trouble for Times: hacking gives Harding a headache

There were some highly uncomfortable moments at The Leveson Inquiry today for The Times editor James Harding, who apologised after one of his reporters was found to have hacked into an email account to unmask anonymous police blogger DC Richard Horton (aka Nightjack).

Harding told the inquiry he ‘sorely regrets’ not disclosing the actions of his former media correspondent Patrick Foster at a High Court hearing into a privacy injunction brought by Horton against the paper. The hearing found in favour of The Times.

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