The secret of good PR? Know when to shut the fuck up

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We all pretty much know the full story of incompetence, greed and complacency displayed by the Government and board of RBS. What has come to light over the last few weeks has been nothing short of astonishing.

On Friday, following what could generously be described as a fractious shareholders meeting, the RBS  Chairman Sir Philip Hampton made a call for an end to the ‘public flogging’, as described on Robert Peston’s blog.

The gut response of the majority of people to the call was predictably blunt over the weekend. Things were hardly helped today when the board announced another 9,000 job cuts. Although this makes sense from a business point of view, it could also quite reasonably be interpreted as a bit rich given that some of the people responsible for taking the decisions that led to the whole mess are still comfortably in jobs.

You know the arguments.

What I find breathtaking is that nobody either at RBS or in one of the PR firms that they presumably employ has told Sir Philip Hampton to just shut his mouth.  There is a temptation for firms to try to manage their image through statements and proclamations. Whatever he says at the moment to explain, justify or defend will merely confirm the perception of the public that this is an organisation that is lucky to still exist, owes a debt to them and has displayed very little morality. Lack of self-awareness is not a pretty characteristic of individuals and no more so in companies.

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