Tomorrow's Business Today
How PR people will save the world
Last week Vlad Putin acolyte Vladimir Solovyov warned that because the UK is giving missiles to Ukraine, London “will be turned to dust”.
Since he is a PR man, we don’t have to take his every word seriously.
Still, we can rather do without that sort of talk.
I asked the best, most long-standing diplomatic hack in Britain how this horrible war ends.
He’s been doing this stuff since about 1970 – seriously – so when he tells you a Henry Kissinger anecdote, it’s because he was in the room when it happened.
His game plan, offered amid glugs of Merlot, follows. And, not that he put it like this, but it seems to require an awful lot of scheming, devious skill from a lot of PR people.
Here’s the play:
China says it will help Russia with weapons. The West affects to be appalled by this, but isn’t really. Useful journalists are briefed to keep up the pretence.
China says privately it will lead Russia to a ceasefire, but when it does, it gets the credit.
America agrees, through gritted teeth, to say that Li Keqiang, or his successor, is indeed a most wise and brilliant leader, when the time comes.
Britain is out of the loop and Boris Johnson continues to make an idiot of himself. On this occasion, it’s his best work, he just doesn’t know it.
Putin, who by one account only has three advisers – Peter The Great, Catherine the Great and Ivan The Terrible — is lured into complacency by the Chinese aid.
He does something stupid, but not utterly catastrophic.
Something America can shout about, but not go literally ballistic over.
If he nukes an actual city, the Chinese plan doesn’t work, we are all in serious trouble.
But if there’s some light tactical nuclear mucking about in the Black Sea – thousands of dead fish, surf’s up in Odessa – that’s factored in.
At that point, China comes over all shocked and withdraws the military support upon which Russia had come to depend.
Through back channels, a ceasefire deal is proposed. No one is going to do an actual deal with Putin, since no one trusts him, but there’s a way for the international PR guys to get to a standstill.
Putin is satisfied and declares victory. No one who matters disagrees in public with his analysis. Boris is taken into a dark room and told by PR heavies to STFU.
A new border is defined, with NATO soldiers on one side, and Russians on the other.
They eye each other and there’s the odd skirmish, but the incidents become normal, and stop making the News at Ten.
It stays like this forever, or at least for the rest of our lives.
For this plan to come off requires an array of international PR folk to trust each other, while selling yarns to their leaders that they know to be less than the full story.
In other contexts, we would call this lying.
In this one, if you lot can pull it off, we’ll forgive you.
We trust you are on it.
Press release of the day
The typical UK home could miss out on savings of £1,800 every year on their energy bills by the end of this decade unless the government ramps up plans to roll out insulation, and heat pumps, says this from Cambridge Econometrics and Greenpeace.
They are offering an Affordable Energy Calculator, which aims to help people figure out their energy costs and cut them.
Stories that will keep rolling
1) How come French inflation is so much lower than ours?
2) Is abrdn’s fund performance better or as bad as that at Jupiter and Schroders?
3) Are people turning away from Ocado given food inflation? Has it got any tomatoes?
4) Is the UK stock market undervalued, or is America’s just overvalued?