On patrol this week is Natalie and Delyse, rounding up the Good and Bad PR examples for the week.It’s been a bad week for Transport Scotland as they are blamed for failing to carry out essential road repairs while they had the money to do so. Audit Scotland has worked out that Scotland is now facing a £2bn pothole repair bill and this figure is likely to be an underestimate as it was worked out before the big freeze in December. The report also reveals that more than a third of all roads in Scotland and 22 per cent of trunk roads have been classed as being in an unacceptable state.
The comment from a Transport Scotland spokesperson – “Although it looks at the conditions of trunk roads and the effects of construction inflation on available budgets, we welcome that it highlights much of the progress which Transport Scotland has made in how it efficiently and sustainably manages the trunk road network and gets better value from available budgets.” – makes us wonder whether they’ve read the same report the media has.
Given the level of outrage from drivers, it’s unlikely they are out of touch with the concerns of the public. More likely, Transport Scotland believes it is managing their media output to try move the public’s attention to what they believe is the bigger picture. Their own twitter feed also makes no mention of the pothole drama but does feature a nicely timed positive press release regarding a new ice patrol equipped with mobile ice sensors. Good try, but they can’t escape the scale of the pothole issue which isn’t going to get any better any time soon.
Happy as Larry –former stray cat gets the cream
He used to live on the streets, followed by a short stint at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, but now Larry the four-year-old cat has swapped his vagrant life for a much more privileged one in his new, plush residence at No 10 Downing Street.
Earlier this week he arrived like a true glamour puss. Arriving via an animal ambulance and shielded from the paparazzi’s flashing lightbulbs by a royal blue cover emblazoned with the animal shelter’s over his travel carrier, it didn’t take Larry long to settle in and spent most of his first day sleeping on the job.
And when he did come out for the cameras, although he had to be coaxed by Downing Street staff from his slumber, he quite literally made his mark by scratching journalists who picked him up thinking he might like a gentle stroke.
But as ‘Chief Mouser’ to the Cabinet, the streetwise tabby seems less keen on affection, and more inclined to fulfil his role in catching the pesky rodents which have regularly been spotted scuttling past the door of No 10 during live TV broadcasts.
As the news from Downing Street usually refers to the current economic climate, Larry’s arrival was headline grabbing as it was a breath of fresh air, a chance to escape from the doom and gloom.
Some cynics may claim it was a PR stint to mask the financial situation the nation faces, but it showed a softer, more human side and promoted Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to boot. Whilst the PM could have elected to have a pedigree cat from a posh background, he opted to rehome a stray. A more subtle interpretation of his Big Society strategy?