So I have to ask the question: does anyone seriously think that if Alan Duncan had had this job over the last week we wouldn't be sick to the back teeth of seeing him on our TV screens splashing around in his green wellies? I do not pretend that an ability to get on the media is the only pre-requisite for being in a senior shadow cabinet position, but it is surely one of them. Andrew Pierce, in this morning's Telegraph, agrees...
Peter Ainsworth is a name few of you will be familiar with. He is, for what it'sWhen I was in Rwanda I did a live News 24 interview in which I said that the fact that David Cameron was in Rwanda did not mean the Conservative Party was saying nothing about the floods. He had a shadow cabinet and a shadow environment secretary who would be handling it all while he was away. I am sure he and they were. But from reading the newspapers you'd be forgiven for not knowing that.
worth, the Tories' capable environment spokesman. He should have enjoyed
wall-to-wall coverage leading the response to the flooding, bearing in mind our
new Prime Minister cut the money for river defences when he was Chancellor. But
the only reference this week I can recall to the capable Mr Ainsworth was about
his bouffant hairdo which is, admittedly, a cross between Ivana Trump's barnet
and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Now does that say more about the media or the
parlous state of the Conservative Opposition?
It is simply not good enough for them to say that they pumped out press releases bemoaning the government's lack of preparedness. It's symptomatic of a failing media approach to complain about lack of coverage. In today's media environment you have to earn that coverage, and simply sending out a five line quote from Peter Ainsworth in response to the latest government failing won't do that.
This is yet another example of the task that faces Andy Coulson in reshaping the Party's media strategy. But it is also further proof that the Shadow Cabinet needs to up its game.