The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Just Because You’re Talking Doesn’t Mean You’re Communicating …

I’m writing this post on the 28th May, so who the hell knows what’s happening a month from now. Actually I’m lying, as I have a pretty good suspicion about a few things, at least to do with me, so it will be interesting to see how wrong or right I am.

But I digress.

This is about the British Government’s communication strategy, specifically when they went to phase 2 of their COVID-19 strategy and launched these guidelines to help the British public deal with the pandemic.

As we all know by now, there was a lot of debate.

Some said they were clear.

Some said they were ambiguous.

And so rather than help the nation as a whole understand their situation and what was needed to help us move forward, they ended up igniting the nation in debate about wording, leaving people to interpret what the hell they wanted.

A conspiracy theorist may suggest this was done to stop people looking at the huge death toll that had happened due to Boris Johnson’s shambolic handling of COVID. A theory only made compelling by the way Johnson suddenly announced the UK was ‘re-opening’ mere hours after he had publicly backed his advisor, Dominic Cummings, for breaking the rules he had helped force upon the entire British public in an obvious attempt to distract the public’s attention. Made even worse by the fact Johnson had apparently almost died with COVID, so he knew first hand how dangerous it was and as such, should not back anyone who had the symptoms and then knowingly broke the rules. And as a final insult, the way he backed Cummings – suggesting it was what ‘all parents would do’ literally pissed on the faces of the parents and children who went through incredible hardship [from not seeing loved ones, to not attending loved ones funerals] to obey what was asked of them. An utter, disgusting way to behave.

But I digress. Again.

The point I want to make is that while all this argument was going on – specially around what ‘Stay Alert’ meant in practical terms, Vic Polkinghorne, @vicpolky on twitter, wrote a tweet that put the debate to rest.

They wrote:

Note on clear/unclear communication (one area I do have some experience)

If some people find it unclear, it’s unclear.

If you find it clear and some people find it unclear, it’s unclear.

The responsibility for clarity of comms is with the communicator, not the recipient.

That’s a good lesson for anyone in the communication industry.

An even better one for the British Government.

Now if only they were open to constructive criticism or gave a shit about anyone outside of their chummy little privileged gang.

17 Comments so far
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A month in advance. You write this a month in advance!
This is the most depressing thing I’ll learn this week. Thanks a lot Rob.

Comment by Bazza

+ 1

Comment by Pete

Good advice in the post. Mainly because someone called Vic wrote it.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Rob

I think the point you make should be aimed at everything Johnson has said. I cannot work out why some people still believe a word he says when he can go from full lock down to opening everything up in weeks without any real protocol in place for dealing with social distancing. The UK government may not be as stupid as Trump, but they are giving it a good go.

Comment by George

Good point about the change all coming around the time Cummings was caught out. Johnson needed a quick diversion and he did it without any consideration to the impact it could have on health. They are all criminal.

Comment by George

Yep … selling out your countries health to secure the employment of the evil prick that got you in the job sums up how bad Boris is.

Comment by Rob

It’s a sad fact Trump is a far worse leader than the ineptness of Johnson.

Comment by Pete

I was wrong, you have depressed me more.

Comment by Bazza

Thanks Pete. Oh, and +1 for me too.

Comment by Rob

Your application for the position of futurist is under consideration. We’ll get back to you.

Comment by John

in a thousand fucking years.

Comment by andy@cynic

only a month? with how out of date you are campbell, i guessed it would be 10 fucking years.

Comment by andy@cynic

Only 10 years?

Comment by DH

With a weeks hindsight, what I thought was going to happen did. And not because I’m clairvoyant, zbut because of how others were acting. But I’ll still use this as evidence of my brilliance at reading behaviour.

Comment by Rob

You are rarely wrong with your suspicion. I wish you were this time, even though I know it is forcing something exciting to happen.

Comment by George

[…] I’ll leave him be but if he does comes back [again] I’ll simply point him to this post and hope he understands the responsibility for clarity of communication is with the communicator, […]

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