Cluelessness – a political skill

September 3, 2010

Well I used to reckon that this Andy Coulson fellow, you know, the News of the World editor who moved across to head David Cameron’s media strategy, must have known all about the phone-tapping and tape-recording that was going on during his watch.

It doesn’t just stretch credibility; it’s wholly implausible to imagine him sitting there in the editor’s office with not a clue about how a succession of exclusives involving celebrities right up to the Royal Family were obtained.

And let’s face it, The Cameron Boy is a bright lad; a first in Modern Greats from Oxford and his tutor there, constitutional expert Prof. Vernon Bogdanor, considered him ‘one of the ablest’ students he had taught.

There’s no way, I thought, that Dave would appoint to a critical role someone who truly hasn’t a clue about what goes on in the organisation they’re supposed to be in charge of. Not a chance.

Then it dawned on me. Of course, that’s precisely what The Cameron Boy does. It’s his modus operandi.

Osborne… Gove… Lansley….

And let’s not forget the young leader of the Conservative opposition himself.

So firm, disciplined and total was his grip on his party in the run up to the 2010 election that it seems entirely to have escaped his notice for nearly 5 years of his leadership, that Lord Ashcroft did not pay tax on his overseas earnings in the UK.

It’s long been a conundrum faced by top managers and leaders that when things go awry – if they didn’t know about it, then they should have, if they did know about it they should have acted to prevent things taking a wrong turn.

Cameron has clocked-on that sustaining an unlikely level of cluelessness about day-to-day operations is the only sure-fire insurance available when wrongdoing is exposed, and a valuable political skill.

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