Working in comms and pr requires incredibly sound judgement on when to speak out, and when to keep a lid on personal views. Here’s a great example on why keeping quiet is sometimes the best policy.
by PANEL WRITER Marcus Grodentz
I am watching the national political scene with some interest having come into regular close working contact with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbynwhile working at Haringey Council.
I started my working life as a journalist and began to specialise in local government.
In a ‘poacher turned game keeper’ move I switched to local government public relations – the hours and the pay were both substantially better – and Haringey was my first job.
In retrospect those were what I consider to be the ‘dark’ days of local government andI started there as a press officer and went on to become head of public relations.
The media couldn’t write about any activities to do with Haringey Council without using the epithet –‘Loony Left.’ My work in the press office there was always an uphill struggle.
And with the likes of Bernie Grant and Nicky Harrison - immense political figures at the time– and both no longer with us – life was always interesting.
The late Douglas Smith- a giant in the PR world – was leader of the opposition on the council. He knew how to tell a good tale to the media and made sure I was always kept busy.
So what of Jeremy?
He never lost any opportunity to ‘grill’ me about my politics. He was intent on knowing how I voted.
This was a question I always ‘ducked and dived’ about when responding and I managed to avoid answering – for two reasons.
Professionally I had to be politically impartial and be seen to be impartial.
However, I also had a ‘guilty secret.’
My ex-wife had strong views on education – very strong views.
She was intent on our daughter going to a private school and went out to work to earn the money to pay the school fees.
What on earth would the media make of the daughter of the head of public relations at Loony Left Haringey Council going to a private school?
They would probably have had a field day.
So I kept my secret and Jeremy and I had many a conversation where some quick footwork was required on my part when the political topic surfaced.
My secret was kept for the best possible reasons as I didn’t want to end up embarrassing my employers.
While I would normally advocate bringing things out into the open and facing up to them there are some circumstances where it is better to ‘keep your own counsel.’
As long as you take this course of action for the best of motives you can rest easy – but beware they can sometimes resurface when you least expect them.
For now I can at last ‘come clean’ and expose my ‘guilty secret.’
What guilty secrets do you have – and do they still trouble you?
image by Andrew Levine from Flickr Creative Commons