A PR man made the news yesterday, on the occasion of getting fired for being rude about the Welsh.
Keith Hann was the director of corporate affairs at Iceland, as well as the author of The Bluffer’s Guide to Public Relations (we like the sound of that).
He made some anti-Welsh comments, including that Welsh is “a dead language that sounds uncannily like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat”.
He made these comments years ago on a personal blog which “resurfaced”, leading to the supposed threat of a boycott by offended shoppers.
Iceland said Hann’s views are not the company’s and dismissed him. Perhaps it had no choice. Perhaps that was Hann’s own advice.
The interesting thing was the unusually sympathetic reaction from hacks who dealt with him professionally.
Harry Wallop has him as “one of life’s good guys, who relishes in winding people up and saying what he thinks – attributes you might think were incompatible with being in public relations. But in fact makes him one of the best.”
Others who worked with him noted that he “knew his onions, (was) trusted by the board, didn’t take it too seriously and wrote like a dream. Who do you think journalists called?”
Marcus Leroux at SourceMaterial said: “It’s not like he’s some corporate drone who turned out to have a secret life as a BNP activist.”
Indeed. Iceland knew exactly what he was like and benefitted hugely from his style over the years.
The comments themselves aren’t defendable and it is hard to see why you’d make them in public or indeed at all.
But surely this was manageable in other ways? Couldn’t Iceland have docked his pay, sent him on various awareness courses and made a contribution to a Welsh charity?
Perhaps we should all be held to account for things we did or said eight years ago.
The FCA needs to set out when its investigation into the Woodford affair will conclude says this from the Treasury Committee, especially now the man himself is plotting a comeback.
The investigation is so far 18 months old and it is hard to escape the idea that the findings are likely to be embarrassing to the regulator, hence the delay.