With less news and fewer views to report during the parliamentary recess, journalists round on issues such as who’s meeting who, who’s jet setting where, and what they wore for drinks. On the whole, sitting prime ministers have an advantage in this summer spectacle. Without any government business to oppose, the Leader of the Opposition is a bit of a spare part, while the PM continues to lead the nation on the world stage.
A quick contrast this week:
Monday: Downing Street announced 17 separate business summits for 3,000 foreign investors and business partners in connection with the Olympics. Meanwhile, Ed Miliband reaffirmed that running and looking statesmanlike are mutually exclusive, as the Daily Mail was pleased to demonstrate. A clear win for Cameron.
Tuesday: David Cameron is photographed on the steps of Downing Street, where he entertained the Queen and three former prime ministers in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Meanwhile, Ed Miliband was in Paris meeting president Francois Hollande – an international leader that David Cameron has yet to meet… but maybe there’s a reason for that. He’s not a figure who resonates much in the UK. It’s a closer game this one, but the presence of a sitting monarch sways this in the PM’s favour.
But how will we score the Mitt Romney-Ed Miliband meet scheduled for Thursday? Cameron’s team annoyed Romney’s by not meeting up when Cameron met President Obama earlier this year. Did they identify a loser, or will they come to regret their dismissiveness? The Labour leader has little in common with the Republican hopeful, but Romney might just make it to the White House. Perhaps Romney’s team mirrors that thinking on Miliband, who hasn’t much of a following in the US. It seems the Labour team themselves aren’t sure if this will play well; it’s not yet confirmed whether Miliband will be photographed with the Republican candidate.
So, a no-score draw on the Romney question for now. Or will the Romney-Miliband meeting really be a catalyst for a new chapter in the special relationship?
Jon Bennett is a director at public relations and public affairs consultancy Linstock Communications