My kingdom for a horse?
The current Leveson enquiry into phone hacking is demonstrating exactly how close the relationship is between the police, politicians and journalists in general – and those from News Internationalin particular.
Typifying this is ‘Horsegate’, the whole furore about Rebekah Brooks and Raisa, the ex-police horse that she was loaned and that, finally, Downing Street admitted that David Cameron had ridden. Now, I have no issues with anyone with suitable facilities looking after retired police horses – and let’s face it, given that Brooks’ husband is a racehorse trainer (and News International columnist) they are likely to have a spare stable and a bit of hay for an old nag. But the fact that she apparently asked for the horse through the Metropolitan Police’s head of public affairs smacks to me of not going through the right channels that are open to us all. And Cameron’s multiple visits to the Brooks’ farm, and horse riding sessions, demonstrates the extremely close links between politicians and News International. No wonder Downing Street wanted to deny it for as long as possible, particularly given the botched removal of ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson as the PM’s director of communications last year.
The ironic thing is that Horsegate, with its perfect combination of animals, potential sleaze, and ability to create puns has completely overshadowed the departure of James Murdoch from News International. I’d like to say I prophesised this back in July last year when the Murdochs brought in PR firm Edelman to help defend their reputation, but even my imagination didn’t forsee a police horse playing such a leading part in the story………
So, my PR advice for Cameron? Ditch the horse and go back to your bike
– much more man of the people and, let’s face it, a safer choice in the current situation.
- VIDEO: PM ‘did ride Brooks police horse’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Police Loaned Retired Horse To Rebekah Brooks (news.sky.com)
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