‘A pointless attempt to control information ’
10:43am Wednesday 25th April 2012 in Skipper
THERE’S an old saying about life imitating art which has never been truer than in the run up to the Olympic Games in London. Any of you who watched the excellent BBC comedy Twenty Twelve will know exactly what I’m talking about.
The series was a mock-documentary looking at the team organising the infrastructure for London 2012, and the bizarre situations they find themselves in.
The script proved uncannily accurate to the real world. In the very first episode, the team were forced to deal with a countdown clock that refused to work.
On the day it was broadcast, the genuine countdown clock in London stopped working, much to the merriment of the national press.
Other situations scripted into the comedy have coincided with the actual preparations for the games, with one Government minister admitting he found it difficult to watch the programme as it was ‘too close to home’.
Now, I can hear you saying, that’s all well and good, but what on earth does it have to do with Cornwall?
Luckily, I can explain. One of the main characters in Twenty Twelve is the team’s idiot PR guru, who, to put it bluntly, is useless.
She operates in the belief the media will believe whatever she says, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem, and regardless of any facts that may get in her way.
Sadly, that exact situation is being mirrored here in Falmouth in the run up to our own moment of Olympic glory.
For the past few months, it has been widely known that homegrown Olympian Ben Ainslie would be involved in the Olympic torch relay through the town on Saturday, May 19 – and probably carrying the torch for part of its journey through the town.
It was not too tough to guess he would be taking part – after all, he is the most successful Cornish Olympian of all time, comes from the area, and happens to be competing in Falmouth Bay in an Olympic warm-up competition in the days before the torch relay.
Despite the knowledge being widespread, in deference to the organisers, no media reported the fact.
Happily, this week, the truth was finally out. A press release was issued, revealing in its first paragraph how ‘hometown boy, Olympian Ben Ainslie, will celebrate the start of the Torch relay at this iconic Cornish harbour town’.
Sadly, the sailor is not mentioned again until a quote later in the press release, where it is noted that Mr Ainslie will play a ‘key role’ in proceedings. However, no further details are revealed.
A call to the organisers to ask the exact nature of Mr Ainslie’s role was then met with a simple ‘we don’t know what he’ll be doing yet’.
Now come off it, there is no way the some details have not yet been hammered out, and no way that the Olympian’s role has not been decided yet.
Trying to hold an announcement off is pointless, and beginning to look stupid. Everyone knows it is happening, but, in the hope of getting a PR boost for an event that should need no extra publicity, no one is allowed to say anything yet.
What the geniuses behind this thinking have not realised yet is that, by the time they finally make their announcement, this news will be so old it will not be met by gasps but by a simple shrug of everybody’s shoulders.