Still on the This Week theme, I was disappointed that Michael Portillo’s viewed the revelation that David Cameron had hired two personal photographers as a bad sign.
There’s divided opinion on this, more against than for the hirings:
For me, it’s a failure of presentation by David Cameron and his No 10 press team. Where were the arguments presented for the hirings. None. I can see plenty; being on hand at important moments when the media photographers aren’t around, to capture the intimate moments of the PM and conversations with world leaders, to record life at No 10 for posterity, to present professional images of No 10 to the world, to provide the images as part of a communication strategy with the electorate. Geez, I could go on.
I agree with Collen Graffy, who’s surprised that there wasn’t an existing unit in No 10. There must be trust between photographer and the photographed, which is something that was obviously built up while he employed the two when in opposition. I’m not too fussed about his choice.
What I am fussed about is the failure of No 10′s press and PR team to see the pitfalls in such appointments, without presenting the justifying strategic reasons for them. Others, such as Martin Ivens in The Times, and Tim Montgomerie have commented on the need for a Chief of Staff at No 10. Coalition government presents more presentational challenges than one party government, so a coordinating hand is vital. Public goodwill is a finite resource, and shouldn’t be expended carelessly, as has been the case with Cameron’s photographers.