Lady Ashton has mixed priorities – to put it kindly. Recently, the UK diplomat decided to spend no less than £8.5 million for less orthodox PR activities meant to promote her new EU diplomatic service. The money, is not designated for media outreach, or advertising, as you’d expect, but for propaganda videos, and… for entertaining VIP visits, lunches or dinners, with “three courses with waiter service and wine”, and receptions with “champagne and top-of-the-range appetizers” – The Telegraph reported.
Nothing unusual, except that the propaganda aims “to illustrate to the general public the increasing importance of the role of the EU as a global actor in peace building and crisis management,” after Baroness Ashton left the post of special EU envoy to the Middle East empty. The position was held by Marc Otte whose term ended this week, and so far no replacement has been announced. Instead, Lady Ashton decided to spend on spin, pumping more money in PR and propaganda and hiring an outside PR firm for the purpose, despite the fact that she already has two spokesmen, a full time media adviser and a strategic communications director, plus the free use of the European Commission’s 909-strong communications staff. And let’s not forget that Baroness Ashton is the world’s highest-paid female politician, with an annual salary of £230,000.
Naturally, one wonders what these people are doing, or better yet, why are they not doing their jobs efficiently enough to spare unnecessary spendings? At a time when the Middle East “boils,” spending on propaganda seems a bit inappropriate.