“I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.”
Question: Is the above statement by European Council President Donald Tusk, delivered at a press conference in Brussels this week:
a. A long overdue bit of straight-talk aimed squarely at the pro-Brexit cabal?
b. An outrageous affront to each and every Great British leave voter?
c. Tusk’s special gift to journalists bored rigid by the Brexit impasse?
The answer of course is all three. It just depends who happens to be listening.
The twitter fest that followed the ‘special place in hell’ statement ran the gamut from apoplexy – Tusk was a ‘devilish trident-wielding Euro maniac’ hollered DUP spokesman Sammy Wilson – to admiration – “The Brexiters who are so indignant at Tusk for his comment about them having no plan, might do better to come up with a plan,” mused Yorkshire and Humber MEP Richard Corbett – to aloofness – “Tusk is hardly in the Aquinas class as a theologian,’” opined MP and arch Brexiter Jacob Rees Mogg.
Whatever your opinion, it’s highly likely that Mr Tusk knew his straight-faced statement would set a cat among the press and political pigeons, just as he knew that his message would hit home to those it was really aimed at.
Like him, PR professionals are well aware that you can never guarantee a message won’t be misinterpreted by those who choose to hear what they want to hear. But if it’s clear, simple and based on plain truth, it will cut through regardless.
And one thing is certain – to paraphrase Mr Tusk, no PR professional worth their salt would embark on a campaign without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out effectively.