Public relations and politics share a close connection dating back to the early days, and political PR serves an integral role in various aspects, including campaigns and crisis management. Communication in this field is scientific in nature requiring systematic implementation. A major goal of PR in politics builds images because perceptions are central to success. In the aftermath of Brexit and the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron, UK politicians need to develop strategies based on careful analysis. Britain’s future lies in the wisdom of Cameron’s successor.
As a ferocious fight for leadership ensues, the hard issues relating to the country’s exit from the European Union await at Number 10 Downing Street. David Cameron announced his administration would leave the task of notifying the EU about the exit decision to the new prime minister. However, a number of EU leaders are keen to begin negotiations with the U.K. immediately. The new PM faces daunting tasks ranging from maintaining the country’s unity to the restoration of economic and political stability.
If badly managed, the Brexit debacle could deepen the rift between Britain and some of its key allies, already many in Europe view the departure with trepidation and have stated a willingness to retaliate. European officials and analysts said they are keen to deter other members from following the U.K.’s example. The director of the French-based Foundation for Strategic Research, Camille Grand told reporters there is no appetite to remain friendly and Britain will pay the price.
The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, urged U.K. and EU leaders to exercise restraint since Britain needs to maintain a healthy relationship with the rest of Europe well into the future in spite of the exit. Doing so requires wise choices and tactical public relations maneuvering. Beyond Europe, the United Kingdom faces complications when it comes to its relationship with key allies, such as the United States. President Barack Obama warned that Brexit complicates the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain and that actions by British leaders have a direct bearing on whether the country loses its privileged trading ties with the United States
Political and economic turmoil characterizes the post-exit period. The actions of the former London mayor Boris Johnson and other leaders who supported the departure are increasingly under scrutiny. Many analysts believe the pro-Brexit leaders lack a strategic plan to handle the expectations in response to the successful campaign.
To many, it appears they had not anticipated a favorable outcome. As a result, they are unable to cope with the consequences. The pound sterling has taken a battering, and the country needs solid leadership to turn that around. Confronted with the magnitude of the task, analysts say the pro-Brexit leaders are scaling back on expectations and promises. Instead, they need to present a united front and reassure Britons, Europe, and the rest of the world on matters concerning the economy and the country’s political future.
5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian is an avid traveler to Europe, and regular contributor to Everything-PR.