Margo Kingston’s back from hols, and appears to be the only journalist still supporting Latho, while doyens of the press gallery such as Michelle Grattan join Jim McGinty and (by implication) Peter Beattie in demanding that he stand down. What’s odd about Margo’s first post for the year is that she recognises that Latham’s tactics are bizarre but nevertheless endorses these comments by a WebDiary contributor from December 2003 and suggests that they might be applicable to Latho’s present woes:
Let’s say that again. He must ignore the exhortations to comment under those circumstances and if the media tears him apart, he must let them. This is a standout point. It only lives successfully under these conditions: little time to go coupled with uncertainty, which is where we are now before the next election. It works because it creates a vacuum. A vacuum is powerful. It sucks things into it. During times when Mark is uncertain, if he ignores the screaming mass he then gives himself time to centre his spirit and get on top of it again. Let the media tear him apart – because they will have nothing from him to tear apart. The media will be tearing apart only the substance that the media itself throws at it. Mark is silent. He, then in good time, has regathered within himself, he has created the vacuum, there is greater intensity of interest in what he has to say, and when he speaks again he speaks with incisiveness and strength and fills the vacuum with substance of his own choosing.
What’s odd about this is that silence is precisely what’s led to the current media storm. If this is some sort of call for a new politics technique of crisis management, it seems that its moment has well and truly passed.