Tony Blair’s excellent advice

British Prime Minister Tony Blair Speaks In Ar...

British Prime Minister Tony Blair Speaks In Armagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tony Blair has given us a great insight into his success as a politician and a public figure. If we look beyond the propriety of his advice and Mrs Brooks motive in recording it, we will see its value. Tony Blair is an astute politician. He succeeded in large part because he could manage the media message, which today is as important as the political programme. He has provided good crisis management advice that corporate leaders and politicians should take note.

The advice in its parts helps us understand how he managed the appearance as well as the reality of the situation. Like all successful politicians and public figures, Mr Blair understands that appearance can become the reality.

“1. Form an independent unit that has an outside junior counsel, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal counsel, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a Hutton style report,” she said.

He recommends expertise that will not tailor its advice to suit the interest of the client. Instead, they will do it with the focus on the law. Mrs Brooks, the client, can handle the publicity of it. In the US a similar situation can be seen in how Penn State handled or mishandled the Sandusky crisis. The Hutton style report is not to cast aspersions on the Hutton report. It sets out the style template.

“2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.

Politicians understand timing is important in politics and in the media. These are important inflection points to remember. The next time you see a report leaked or published, consider this advice on timing. Has the media outlet done this on their timetable or someone else’s?

“3. Keep strong and definitely sleeping pills. Need to have clear heads and remember no rash short term solutions as they only give you long term headaches.

This advice is common sense and most people who fail overlook it. Sleep is the most important and valuable asset in a crisis. Without sleep or poor sleep, people make mistakes. People will focus on the minute when stressed and sleepless and lose sight of the larger issue. There is a reason armies attack at dawn.

“4. It will pass. Tough up.

The focus on the future is vital in a crisis. Perspective is always needed because the immediacy of the moment can lead to poor decisions.

“5. He is available for you, KRM [Rupert Murdoch] and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us,” she wrote.

Understanding that there are other sources of advice is important to maintain morale and seek out different perspectives.

Instead of criticising Mr Blair, we should thank him for a lesson in crisis management from an extraordinarily successful politician.

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About lawrence serewicz

An American living and working in the UK trying to understand the American idea and explain it to others. The views in this blog are my own for better or worse.
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9 Responses to Tony Blair’s excellent advice

  1. Reblogged this on Philosophical Politics and commented:
    Tony Blair is a polarizing figure now in British politics. Despite what critics may say, he was and is an extraordinarily successful politician. When he gives advice, it pays to listen.

  2. I won’t be listening. Bastard should be languishing behind bars.

    • You may be right. However, even a broken clock is right twice a day or the truth told by an idiot is still the truth.

      People may not like his policies or his politics, but he is one of the most successful politicians in the history of the UK. We cannot forget that both sides of the house gave him a standing ovation.

      I may not like the Yankees or Manchester United, but they do win and their success needs to analyzed to be understood.

  3. Wirral In It Together says:

    You do surprise me Laurence with such a woeful choice of analogy.

    When the Yankees or Manchester United have illegally invaded a foreign nation and killed hundreds of thousands of people, causing untold suffering… then walked away only to be lauded, courted and feted – do let me know.

    • Any analogy is limited by its nature. The comparison was to the desire to criticise without taking note of their success and the reasons for it. It is a different question whether such actions were noble. Howe er even ignoble acts can indicate a truth.
      We have to remember that Parliament approved the decision as the UK is not a presidential system despite, or because it being a monarchical system. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Wirral In It Together says:

    “The comparison was to the desire to criticise without taking note of their success and the reasons for it.”

    Well forgive me, but I do I have an innate desire to criticise killers (and their apologists), regardless of their motives. I do find it difficult to sit back, muse, postulate and philosophise on their political achievements, without being reassured that they’re either dead or banged away, and the world’s a safer place for my two children.

    • Paul,
      Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. I am not sure I can agree with your assessment. Who are the killers? Is it the soldiers who did the killing or the politicians who approved the war, or the people who elected the government? If we are to say that the politicians are killers, we have to say the purpose of the war was unjust. We may not approve of the methods, having to send men and women to fight, kill and be killed, but surely we can accept that the goal was just.
      If all soldiers or leaders who order soldiers into combat are killers, without considering their motive, how would you distinguish between a democracy and a tyranny?
      I know Churchill understood the difference and I suspect that you understand the difference even if you dislike Mr. Blair.

      All the best,


      • Wirral In It Together says:

        Blair lied… repeatedly. Campbell and others aided & abetted the dishonesty and the unjust killing. These were the killers. All else is superfluous… which I think you know Lawrence.

      • I am not sure Blair lied. Politicians are very careful not to lie. They may not state all the facts or they may emphasize one side of an argument, or one set of facts, over another, but that does not mean they are liars or that they have lied.

        Too often we assume, or assert that someone who did not tell us taxes would go up to pay for the wonderful programmes lied to us about taxes. On the contrary, they have told us what we wanted to hear, which is something we all do and most, if not all of us, what to hear from time to time.

        What is of interest, is that his lies are your concern. If lying is so reprehensible, two questions come to mind. Have you ever lied and is it justified for a democratic leader to lie for the good of the community?

        Thanks again.


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