How to create a
media storm

The British public loves an argument. We’ve had Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone scrapping in red-faced fury. We’ve had Francis Maude vs The Fire Brigade, George Osborne vs Grannies and, today, Lib Dems vs Tories over access to online data.

(You can’t help watching when people are shouting. Once, in Fitton high street, an elderly lady took very vocal exception to a young man dropping an empty crisp packet, and we all stood open-mouthed, like children watching Punch and Judy.)

But if you want to create a real media storm, you follow the example of the Daily Mail. You set women against women. You engineer a cat fight. You ask a 40-year-old woman called Samantha Brick to write an article called ‘Why Do Women Hate Me For Being So Beautiful?’ and then sit back and wait for the comments to flood in. You even plot a graph of the tweets before printing a follow-up article.

I am amazed that political spin doctors don’t use this tactic more often.

The next time the Coalition is in hot water, it should divert attention by mocking up an all-female battle. Set Theresa May against Harriet Harman. Wonder whether Labour MP Caroline Flint and Tory MP Louise Mensch have scratched each other’s eyes out in L. K. Bennett. Suggest that Meryl Streep really wanted to play Shirley Williams rather than Margaret Thatcher. And illustrate the whole thing with a picture of women mud-wrestling.

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