Earlier on today a couple of commenters - Scary Mary and Grim Reaper - spotted an apparent inconsistency in what I wrote in THIS blogpost comparing Gordon Brown's electoral strategy to Michael Foot's compared to THIS one which ventured some advice to first time candidates.
On 4th April I advised candidates...
"Your only media focus is local. Ignore Michael Crick. He's not there to help you."
Yet this morning, with reference to Michael Crick's film on Newsnight where Gordon Brown appeared to take my advice and ignored his blandishments to comment on anything, I wrote...
"There is a way to deal with journalists like Crick, but ignoring them is not one of them."
Now, even I can spot an apparent volte face there, and so, it appears, can Mr Crick himself, who has written THIS blogpost, saying that I have left him confused. Well, as ever, I wish to perform a public service and clear up the confusion for those who understandably think I've made a right tit of myself :).
My advice to first time candidates stands. You won't win with Michael Crick, or any other national journalists. So ignore them. They're not there to provide you with free publicity. They are there to encourage you to say something disloyal or embarrassing. So if you say nothing, you can't lose. You're not important enough for them to film you saying nothing.
But if you are Prime Minister and you repeatedly ignore Mr Crick, even when it's only you and him on a train platform, you look a bit of a dick. What Gordon Brown should have done is do what David Cameron does when he encounters the Crickster. He engages in merry banter and ignores his questions. Cameron is then filmed looking as if he has a sense of humour, Crick's got his clip, the world is happy and God is in her heaven.
So I have been entirely consistent in my advice, even when it appears inconsistent. Capiche?
I'll get my coat.