View a full range of our ebooks

View full library


Our Location

The PHA Group
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,

0207 0251 350
PHA Digital Studio
Fourth Floor,
47 Dean St,

0207 0251 350
PHA Finance Department
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,

0207 0251 350

What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

By Jenny Campbell 

When the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928 giving all women over the age of 21 the right to vote, many expected a mass upheaval of society and women’s position both within the home and workplace to follow suit.

However, fast forward 90 years and despite significant progress being made towards pursuing gender parity, there are still great disparities present within society. Whilst there is a growing body of women promoting change, there are still many stuck in the shadows of their male counterparts.

PR for Jenny Campbell

This gender bias is something I have become all too familiar with throughout my career, experiencing first-hand the double standards women are subjected to within the workplace. During my banking career, I was initially given a ‘Band B’ ranking as opposed to a higher tiered ‘Band A’, based on the assumption that at some point I would take a break from my career to have children. My male counterpart, who I knew I was doing a better job than, received a ‘Band A’, so I challenged this and after eighteen months of fighting it, I received the ‘Band A’ that I deserved.

Shaping a corporate career as a woman is no easy feat and I have spent a large proportion of my working life challenging similar bias that could potentially hold me back. However, perceptions are gradually being corrected and the past year alone has acted as a platform for women calling out for this position to change with campaigns such as #TimesUp and #MeToo coming to the forefront of society.

The career opportunities for women have increased considerably, especially with the rise of the female entrepreneur. However, despite 1 in 10 women wanting to start their own business, just 9% of funding into UK start-ups goes into businesses run by women.

The entrepreneur, regardless of their gender, is a crucial driver of the nation’s economic growth and by disregarding women’s capacity as business owners and employers society is overlooking a great resource of untapped potential.

It is not a question of drive and ambition among female businesswomen, but that of opportunity, specifically linked to access to funding channels in order to embark on an entrepreneurial path.

A recent report found that a quarter of all female small-business owners experienced difficulties when trying to access funding, with women in business receiving just 7% of venture capital investment. This comes in comparison to the male entrepreneur, receiving 86% of venture capital funding.

This stark contrast speaks to wider gender issues of male investors in the venture capital world simply ‘lending to their own’. It is these disproportionate barriers that continue to challenge women’s position and capabilities within the workplace; for example, female entrepreneurs still have a 15%-20% lower loan approval rate than their male counterparts.

Despite vast efforts for gender parity to transcend industries and sectors, there is still a distance to go within the business landscape. However, this is not a battle that should be shied away from. Female entrepreneurs have been found to bring 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested, and Deloitte has suggested that targeted help for early-stage female entrepreneurs could provide a £100bn boost to the UK economy over the next 10 years alone.

Indicators such as these evidence a crucial need to champion an overall change in how we view women in the workplace, with concerted efforts to remove the gender bias women face. Employers often expect women to act in a certain way and repeatedly underestimate individual’s capabilities due to their gender. Women need to take a greater stand within the workplace to ensure that these expectations don’t pigeonhole their careers and instead fight for the position they deserve.

Regardless of the industry or sector women always face challenges, however, it is important not to be put off by the hurdles in your way and instead to take each challenge as a new opportunity to help break through the stereotypical moulds in society and to forge the career you want.

Ultimately the decision whether to support an enterprise should be taken irrespective of gender and based on business merit alone. Whilst there is a revolution building around British entrepreneurship there is still a great deal of progress to be made in transforming the culture and mindset surrounding a women’s place, and this change in my view cannot come quick enough!

#PressForProgress: Empowering Female Entrepreneurs

There was once a time when a woman’s career was expected to only go so far and fizzle out after marriage, so she could focus on domestic and maternal roles.

Thankfully, everything is rapidly changing, and the glass ceiling is finally starting to crack.

As a woman starting my career, I am so glad women in business are now more confident to push for those top-level jobs, as well as start successful businesses of their own. Now, more than ever, women are also using these platforms to speak out and raise awareness around a variety of issues.

There are still certain sectors, such as technology and finance, where women are still wildly under-represented. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why this is. Whether it’s down to a still prevalent bias in those industries and their hiring bodies, or whether women themselves naturally gravitate towards certain careers because of long-standing societal opinion.

However, despite the barriers and challenges for women that remain, the world of business is now filled with incredible female entrepreneurs who are providing inspiration for women, such as myself, across the globe.

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, what better time to review the work and careers of women who are making their mark on the business world?

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble and Co-Founder of Tinder, was the victim of online bullying after a sexual harassment case. Her experience inspired her to make sure Bumble was a safe platform where others wouldn’t feel victimised, and instead feel encouraged, empowered and respected. She turned the dating app world on its head by allowing women to have full control over when (and if) they speak to men.

Her main message to other women who are looking to enter the tech space is to create something that will help people in their day-to-day, as technology is based on efficiency, and look to personal experience for inspiration.

After being diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is the perfect example of a powerful woman who has decided to use her influential platform to promote a cause. She joined forces with other sufferers across Facebook to raise awareness of the facebook common, but not well known about, disease.

She used her unique position in Facebook to reach out to support organisations, networks and charities to grow their audience and raise awareness. Since Nicola contacted the administrator of the Living With Follicular Lymphoma page, their member increased from just a few hundred to more than 3, 000.

Inequality of gender representation and opportunities is slowly being addressed it there are still many obstacles women have to overcome as employees, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Whether this is the challenge of balancing a family and a career, or tackling sexism from male counterparts, we can always look to those women who have reached the top of their game for inspiration and advice.

Being a powerful female figure in business is about more than your job title, it’s a symbol of the changing times and the inspirational #PressForProgress. Women who exude passion, confidence and intelligence are part of our current business landscape and are paving the way for more women to seize opportunities and follow in their footsteps.

We’re kickstarting our #IWD2018 campaign by launching #PressforProgress PHA Pledge. 💰 We’re donating 10p to the Woman’s Day charities, Catalyst & WAGGGS, for every follower we get over the next 2 weeks! Simply click below to be taken to our page.





'I'm a Celebrity Help My Career!'

There are few things in the TV guide that gets viewers on the edge of their seats as ‘I’m Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ the showbiz program renowned for its stormy feuds, gruesome bushtucker trials & heartwarming jokes provided from the comedy duo that is Ant & Dec.  

Photo by Matt Brockie on Unsplash

With season 17 only days away from beginning, the questioning over this year’s lineup has ceased as all ten celebs have been revealed and are preparing for life in the jungle. There’s good news for fans of Ant & Dec too, with it confirmed that both will take their usual spot as hosts of the show. Previously rumours of Holly Willoughby being on emergency standby for Ant McPartlin had been circulating in the build-up to the show.

When the class of 2017 celebrities enter the tropical surroundings of Australia on Sunday to begin their quest to become King or Queen of the Jungle, it will mean that almost 200 celebrities of all shapes and sizes have entered the jungle since the program began in 2002.

It’s time to look back at who’s ‘I’m a Celebrity’ experience served their career and reputation for the better and who came out on the wrong side of Kiosk Keith. 


The Happy Campers 

Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Gino D’Acampo

The reality chef appeared and subsequently won the 2009 series. Since then things seem to have only gone one way for Gino and that’s up. Shortly after becoming King of the Jungle, he took up the position of the regular chef on ITV’s This Morning. More was to follow, multiple TV series of ‘Let’s do Lunch with Gino & Mel’ was rolled out, an ever-present team captain on Celebrity Juice since 2014, and now has opened his own flagship restaurant in the heart of London. 

Scarlett Moffatt

A lot can happen in a year, just ask Scarlett! Only entering the jungle this time last year, you could have been forgiven for wondering who the lady from the north was if you weren’t an avid viewer of Gogglebox. Scarlett went on to become crowned Queen of the Jungle, and with that, a whole new career beckoned. Taking up the role of co-presenter of Saturday Night Takeaway alongside her Teesside counterparts Ant & Dec, it will be interesting to see how she fares as a co-presenter of the jungle’s sister show ‘Extra Camp’ this season.

Peter Andre

With arguably the biggest romance to ever hit the jungle in 2004, Peter became involved in one of the highest profile relationships in the British press for the next 5 years. At the time of entering the jungle, he was being turned down by most American record labels. But by the time he came out of the jungle his ‘Mysterious Girl’ hit single from 1996, had shot back into the charts and everyone in the nation was impatiently waiting for the release of ‘Insania’. 

Stacey Solomon

After finishing 3rd in X – Factor the year before, Stacey entered the outback in 2010, 3 weeks later she emerged victoriously and crowned Queen of the Jungle. A host of Television appearances was to follow including being a judge on ‘Top Dog Model’ and Love Island’s ‘After Sun’ show. Several guest appearances on Loose Women in 2016, led to her becoming a full-time panellist on the hit daytime show. To top that off, she’s also been the face of supermarket chain Iceland since 2011. 

The Not-so happy Campers

Photo by Blake Lisk on Unsplash


Gillian McKeith 

One of the more unpopular celebrities to enter the jungle across the previous 16 seasons was Gillian McKeith. The viewers continuously kept on voting for her to take part in more Bushtucker Trials and at one point she even ‘fake-fainted’ to get herself out of the challenge involving rats. This led to a fellow team member, Britt Ekland, suggesting that ‘she should win an Oscar for best-supporting actress’.  Gillian went into the jungle working regularly on Channel 4, since her time in Australia she hasn’t been seen quite so much! 

John Lydon

Since his appearance on season 3 which aired almost 14 years ago now, it seems one bad story has followed another for Johnny. Infamous on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here for his foul-mouthed tirade towards viewers on a live broadcast and then storming off and leaving camp. ITV subsequently received 91 complaints about Lydon’s language.

 Nadine Dorries

It was a shock to see Nadine as a contestant for the 12th season of the show, least of all for her own party members! Dorries was suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party for her choice to appear on the ITV show without informing the Chief Whip. More drama was to follow as Dorries initially refused to disclose how much ITV had paid for her to appear on the show.


Lembit Öpik 

The former liberal democratic MP appeared on the 2010 series, unfortunately, the other camp members didn’t take to his humour. Known since for his relationship with Gabriela Irimina, Lembit hasn’t been involved in politics since his time in the jungle. In recent times, Öpik’s Bulgarian property lawyer girlfriend Sabina Vankova has dumped him publicly on Twitter after he supposedly stayed over at Alex Best’s house!





An Egg is for everyone, not just for Easter

If it was publicity Cadbury’s were after when they launched their most recent campaign, then this may have been a case of careful what you wish for. As worldwide pressing issues aside, Prime Minister Theresa May today was one of many that have decided to comment on Cadbury’s decision to drop the word ‘Easter’ from its annual National Trust Egg hunt.

As both a Christian and a member of the National Trust, May could perhaps be forgiven for taking the issue personally describing it as “absolutely ridiculous”.

This “storm in an eggcup” row all began after the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu accused Cadbury of “spitting on the grave” of its religious founder Quaker John Cadbury by allowing the Easter reference to be removed from the hunt.

Clearly oblivious to the fact Quakers don’t celebrate Easter, Dr Sentamu told the Daily Telegraph: “If people visited Birmingham today in the Cadbury World they will discover how Cadbury’s Christian faith influenced his industrial output. It is obvious that for him Jesus and justice were two sides of the same coin. To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury,”

National Trust Cadbury Theresa May Row

Cadbury’s responding argument of inclusivity brought a surprisingly heated response from May, who speaking in Saudi Arabia today, told ITV news “I think the stance they have taken is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know what they are thinking about frankly.

May, who was taking time out from her role of defending Britain’s links to a nation with historic human right abuses, slammed the decision as an affront to her beliefs:

“Easter’s very important. It’s important to me. It’s a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world. So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly just ridiculous.”

Usually one to let a wise PR opportunity pass by, this time opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t miss and described his own sadness at the decision. “I don’t think Cadbury should take over the name of Easter” he said. “It’s commercialisation gone a bit too far.”

The National Trust has quickly rubbished the claims as “nonsense” while the hell-bound chocolatier dismissed the archbishop’s claim as “simply not true”. It cited the mere “13,000 references” to Easter on its website showed any downplaying of the significance of Easter “could not be further from the truth.”

A quick visit to the website does suggest that the entire thing may have been blown out of proportion with references to Easter positioned loudly and proudly across the page (see image on the right).

Nonetheless, Cadbury were quick to reassure consumers of their commitment to Easter by refusing to let one sentence escape their spokesman without it. “Our Easter partnership with the National Trust is also synonymous with Easter, and we make it clear throughout materials that it is an egg hunt, for families, at Easter.”
National Trust Easter Egg Hunt


So what to take from this? From a PR perspective, this story stresses the importance of every marketing campaign being thought out as thoroughly as possible, as even the slightest issue can open a brand to scrutiny- especially when there is an irate famous face involved.

Perhaps the Archbishop of York has inadvertently done the event a favour by effectively placing them in the public eye. It seems doubtful that the argument will slow ticket sales and it has, instead, merely exposed the event to a much wider audience. Could Cadbury and the National trust ever have dreamed of capturing the media’s attention in this way without the interference from Politicians?

Meanwhile, after a turbulent year, it at last feels like British politics is getting back to normal.






How sponsoring an award can humanise your brand

Earlier this week was the Daily Mirror’s annual Pride of Britain awards, presenting those who are truly remarkable with recognition of their achievements. This year the awards were sponsored by TSB, and hosted by The Daily Mirror. These are both corporations which may otherwise seem disconnected from the difficult realities people face on a day to day basis. Through associating a company with a human cause, it is quickly evident that the company becomes humanised.

Paul Pester, CEO of TSB commented

“This partnership fits perfectly with TSB and what we’ve set out to do. It all stems back to local people helping local people. At TSB, we are trying to change an industry, being local banking back to Britain and make banking better for all UK consumers.”

Aside from the nationalist undertones, what Pester clarifies is that his bank, which to many represents bureaucracy, unnecessary hassle, and endless hours on hold, is at its heart a local service for local people, a face-to-face, centre of the village brand, that ultimately offers the same service as is offered by those winning the awards. By aligning his bank to this end, like the fire-fighters (and others) honoured at the POB awards, the bank becomes not only a point of service, but a service that goes the distance for its customers, because it’s customers are merely an extension of its community.

This comparison, though hardly a tight analogy, makes the brand much more accessible to their customer base. A base, who, especially in this case, will often overlap with the main audience of the ceremony taking place. By positioning your brand behind the human cause, and closely linking the two from an early stage, you are, in essence, running a successful and risk-free campaign not only in boosting the image and availability of the services you offer but in the ethos behind them.

As your company backpacks on the guaranteed success of an event with sparkling celebrity line-up,  confirmed high attendance and a public eye,  as well as a charitable outlook, regardless of discrepancies, your twitter handle, link-back rates, and SEOs will improve in correlation to the causes it supports.

An inspirational night for the winners & TSB Partners at the #PrideOfBritain Awards. Missed the show? Watch it now. On demand link in profile. #prideofbritainawards #prideofbritainawards2016 #redcarpet #awardsnight #london #grosvenorhotel #grosvenor

A post shared by TSB Bank (@tsbbank) on

In return to Pester’s comment, Peter Willis, Mirror Editor and Founder of the Pride of Britain Awards commented:

“TSB is a perfect fit because they champion everything Pride of Britain stands for and represents. We relish the opportunity of working with all the Partners at TSB on finding and recognising the true heroes in communities who make their world a better place. And make Britain great.” 

This inclusive response extends the values of Pride of Britain (and through this, the values of those who have been awarded a prize by fighting adversity) to TSB. Indeed, Carol Vorderman’s (host of Pride of Britain Awards) video says the same thing, boiling the relationship down to two institutions committed to helping local people.

Pride of Britain awards therefore not only support all those individuals who rework the barriers of that which is good, moral and true to solid British values, but enables the company behind it to advocate, inherit and display those same values too.



Are we in for the closest title race in the Premier League for years?

premier league, Leicester city

Image courtesy of Colin Armstrong via Flickr

We may have witnessed, without doubt, the most bizarre, unprecedented season in the history of the Premier League last year, but it was by no means the closest in terms of the race for the title.

We saw the unthinkable become reality as Leicester City defied the 5000/1 odds stacked against them to claim English football’s top prize. We saw the demise of the reigning champions and subsequently the ‘Special One’ who was left unemployed before the turn of the year – albeit not for long. We saw former European champions in Aston Villa crash out of the division with their tails between their legs, capping years of turmoil at Villa Park. But the one thing missing from this incredible campaign was a close title race.

Despite the fact Tottenham could still mathematically win the league with three games to go – their 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea made them the first team to finish a ‘two horse race’ in third – meaning Leicester still won the league comfortably by 10 points.

However, many are tipping this year to be far closer, with the champion boasting a significantly lower margin of victory come May.

We could now be looking at the hardest title race to call in years, with 5/6 teams looking like they could mount a challenge. Granted – we’re only 10 games into the season but a mere three points currently separates the top five.

In recent years, we have seen the dissolution of the so-called set-in-stone ‘top 4’ of United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea – and this is testament to the increased competitiveness of the league. Tottenham’s emergence from the shadows of their North London rivals and as City continue to thrive from the Abu Dhabi United Group investment – the Premier League is only getting stronger.

This year, we have Manchester City under the guidance of charismatic Spaniard Pep Guardiola sitting as favourites with the bookmakers and until recently looked as if they could be an unstoppable force – winning their first 10 games in all competitions.

The picture is slightly different now as we saw them pick up their first win in six at the weekend – proving there is a certain vulnerability about the way Guardiola has them play. Self-imposed defensive calamities at the back have shown that if teams go to the Etihad with a high-intensity press there is plenty of room for error by the City back line. Despite this, there is no denying they are a class outfit going forward and on their day, can cause serious damage to pretty much anyone. For this reason, they are my favourites to come out on top come the end of the season.

Prediction – 1st

Then we have Arsenal. An enigma in recent years that has left many Gooners ripping their hair out every January.

It could be said that in full flow there is no better side to watch than Wenger’s men, but then again you could say that there is no side more frustrating when they happen to not be on their game. Years and years of building false hope pre-Christmas time has left many fans too tired to even begin to dream. Whilst they will be top of the league this Christmas, the title won’t be heading to the Emirates until they prove they have the character to last the distance – not the first 19 games.

Prediction – 2nd

Chelsea, under the leadership of Antonio Conte, looked like a bunch of headless chickens in their 3-0 loss to Arsenal earlier this season – but since then Conte seems to have finally found a system that works with a consistent team selection that has seen them become a much more reliable outfit. Costa and Hazard appear to be finding their form again, which was vital in their league winning campaign under Mourinho. I think top four would be considered a success for Conte in his first season – especially after Chelsea’s chaotic attempt to defend their crown last season. This year may be too soon for a serious title claim – but I’d keep an eye out for them next season.

Prediction- 3rd

On to their North London rivals – Tottenham Hotspur. In recent years, Spurs have been one of the fastest growing teams in the country. Pochettino has a great group of young, hungry players at the Lane and they are another side, who on their day can counter teams to death. But unfortunately, you can’t help but think last year was their glaring opportunity to grab their first league championship since 1961. Besides, the longer Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld remain on the sidelines – the slimmer their chances will get.

Prediction- 4th

Finally, we have Manchester United. Struggling for form since the retirement of Sir Alex in 2013 – United have been a disappointment for the last few seasons. Mourinho’s signings are yet to hit the heights many expected of them and goals have been hard to come by for the red devils. It may just be that just as with Conte, next year will be the year we see Mourinho stamp his authority on his side. But for this season? Not for me.

Prediction- 5th

Next, we have Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. A club many have considered a sleeping giant – Liverpool have struggled to put together a credible title challenge with the exception of the 13/14 season with the infamous Gerrard slip. However, the absence of European football along with the tactical prowess of Klopp sees Liverpool sit firmly as my dark horse. The front three of Firmino, Coutinho and Mane is proving to be a success so far – and Sturridge isn’t a bad option off the bench at all. The one thing that will stop them winning the league? Simple. Goalkeeper.

A view from Conservative Party Conference

As 12,000 tired and slightly worse for wear delegates begin to recover from a busy 4 days at Conservative Party Conference, Number 10 will be breathing a quiet sigh of relief. With no gaffes, and few MPs causing trouble (Osborne, Gove et al stayed away), Theresa May sailed through her first party conference as leader with flying colours. More importantly though, we got our first real insight into what ‘Mayism’ might mean for the country.

Overall, the delegates felt optimistic and united, with Theresa May and her new Ministers receiving a strong reception throughout. However, the mood was also serious – there was a sense that this Government would be a safe pair of hands, that all policy would be fully considered, and that there would be a lack of gimmicks. It was clear that many felt that Theresa May’s premiership (and the Labour Party’s collapse) was a great opportunity to reach out and expand beyond the Party’s traditional base. Perhaps this was most noticeable at the packed DUP’s reception, which had a lengthy queue and Conservative Party members greeted DUP MPs like old friends (although that may have been because of the free champagne on offer…).

Unsurprisingly, Brexit dominated the entire four days. There were countless fringe events discussing everything from Britain’s role in the world, to what it means for the energy market, and how to ensure that young people aren’t left behind. However, there wasn’t the triumphant grandstanding that might have been expected – instead, the delegates seemed to understand that however they personally voted, it is now time to pull together and get on with the ob.

The Prime Minister set the agenda by making her Brexit announcements at the start of the conference; giving party members something to rally around. For the first time, we learnt that Article 50 will be triggered by March next year and that the Queen’s Speech will contain the Great Repeal Act, which will adopt all current EU law into British law. Despite this, there was still a lack of detail besides and ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and how things are going to work practically. There was a palpable sense of confusion from businesses, and all were keen to engage and get their points across. Tellingly, it felt like most delegates were gearing themselves up for a ‘hard’ Brexit.

The biggest change at this year’s conference was the Conservative Party’s lurch to the left, and an obvious U-turn on the austerity agenda. This was evident throughout the conference (e.g. Housing Minister Gavin Barwell proved his commitment to delivering 1 million new homes by 2020 by attending no fewer than 18 fringe events), however, it was Theresa May’s closing speech that really emphasised how her Government will differ from Cameron’s. Her speech proposed policies that included price controls, dropping the target for a surplus by 2020, taking action against house builders to increase the housing stock, and an even stronger stance on immigration than she had taken as Home Secretary.


Perhaps the most controversial statement from May was that “Government can and should be a force for good; the state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot; we should employ the power of government for the good of the people”. Although likely to go down well with the public, it could also be the first sign of trouble ahead. These comments were widely criticised by business groups, including the CBI and IOD, and will put many pro-market Conservative MPs who are overtly pro-business in a difficult position. It is clear that businesses can expect a tougher ride under May than they are used to, and will have to fight hard to protect their interests.

Overall the conference revealed that May and her team will be a safe pair of hands. She isn’t driven by ideology or cronyism – but a desire to help those who have fallen on hard times. She is also determined to deliver the Brexit that she thinks the country voted for (even if that means making compromises over issues such as passports, to ensure that we get full control of our immigration system).

For the public, it is likely that she will offer a strong centre-ground alternative to Labour. However, it is unlikely that she will fulfil the hopes of many within the Tory membership of becoming a second Margaret Thatcher, and there will inevitably be trouble ahead.

Kim Kardashian and the Danger of Snapchat

At around 3am on Monday morning, reality TV star Kim Kardashian was the victim of a terrifying armed robbery, when 5 masked men stormed into her Paris house and stole around £8.5m of jewellery. Johanna Primevert, chief spokeswoman for the Paris police department, claimed that the men deliberately targeted “possessions that had been seen and noticed via social media”, prompting the question as to how sensible it really is for celebrities to flaunt their expensive goods online?

Kim Kardashian, ring

Kim’s Snapchat Featuring her £3.5 million Engagement Ring

While one cannot blame Kardashian for the incident, it is possible that the attack would not have happened had the robbers, who were wearing items of police uniform, had not been aware of the jewellery’s presence in the city. The star of popular TV series ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ had been in Paris for the French capital’s fashion week and had broadcast pictures of her jewellery to her millions of online followers via such channels as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Just three days before the incident, Kardashian had snapchatted an image of herself wearing the second engagement ring given to her by her fiancé Kanye West, which is reportedly worth around £3.5m on its own. Once in the house, the masked men apparently shouted ‘ring, ring’ in reference to the item and this awareness could well be down to its appearance on social media.

Security Expert Christopher Hogan told People magazine that it looked like an “organised attack based on known information”, suggesting that Kardashian’s online posts, as well as pictures showing that her bodyguard was with sisters Kourtney and Kendall that night, helped the thieves pull off their crime. It is not the first time that social media has enabled robberies targeting famous people, with the infamous ‘Bling Ring’ burglarising the homes of many California-based stars after researching their schedules online. Locations were found using Google Maps and other similar sites, while Facebook and Twitter were scoured to decide on the opportune time to strike.

Kardashian is said to be “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, but things could have been a lot worse for the American, who was tied up and had guns pointed at her forehead. So should celebrities be more careful about what they share with the public online?

The obvious answer is yes, but for some (the Kardashians being a perfect example), fame and fortune have been achieved primarily through the sharing of their private lives. While safety should clearly be the main priority for these individuals, their celebrity status sometimes depends on the detailed contents of their social media posts, meaning that they are unlikely to suddenly cut down their posts.

The Kardashians are immensely popular (the five sisters have nearly 130m Twitter followers combined) and this shows how keen the public are to hear about their daily lives, which just encourages more and more shared information.  It is unlikely that this interest will wane anytime soon, and with financial incentives to maintain it, celebrities will continue to reveal their locations and activities, either by choice or through the exploits of paparazzi.

Especially because Snapchat automatically shares users' locations, meaning that Kylie's whereabouts were instantly identifiable.

If people were less interested in reality shows and the like, then stars like Kim Kardashian would feel less pressure to publicise potentially dangerous information like their location and possession of expensive goods. While posts featuring extravagant lifestyles sometimes flirt close to arrogance, they are perhaps an inevitable result of society’s media tastes.

It’s a hard balance to strike for the modern day celebrity. One could argue that it’s the public’s constant demand for mundane details of their lives pushes them to divulge more and more with no strategy in place should the unexpected or, in this case, disastrous occur. Whilst this situation is extreme, many celebrities have found themselves in the centre of a social storm due to the unpredictable nature of social media.

Social media never stops and is not limited by the same legal issues as traditional print. Whilst these forums aren’t going anywhere it would perhaps be pertinent for prominent figures such as Kim to have a social strategy in place or at least some expert advice to help them understand how to maximise their social presence without putting themselves at risk. After all, the horrific events of this week can be seen as a reminder that nothing is truly private online and that even when sharing to please followers, one should be careful about what they let the world know.

By Jamie Crane


Trump, Brexit, Corbyn – the rules of political engagement have changed

Bandying about insults, interrupting his opponent, a winding monologue packed with hyperbole and absent of any detail.

Casual observers of US politics could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon an episode of The Apprentice. Except it couldn’t be The Apprentice, could it? Sure enough, that was Trump stood up on stage, but with Hillary Clinton alongside him?

No observer, this was not reality TV – this was just symptomatic of the direction politics in the US and the UK is lurching towards.

The less attentive amongst the public would have been left aghast at Donald Trump’s performance in the first US Presidential debate – how could such a man be anywhere near the race for the White House?

Donald Trump, US election

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore on Flickr

And yet to those who have been paying attention – Trump’s rise is part of a continuing trend in global politics. There has been a noticeable and collective rejection of the establishment permeating across the British and American political spectrums.

The political shift in the last twelve months has been as fast as it has unexpected. For people in the UK, it started in the aftermath of the 2015 General Election, with the Labour leadership race after Ed Milliband tendered his resignation.

Jeremy Corbyn defied the predictions of every pundit, expert and media outlet to secure the leadership of the Labour Party in September 2015 with the largest mandate in the party’s history. Why were people so drawn to Corbyn? Maybe it’s because he is different, he represents change – an alternative to the status quo.

What has followed is twelve months of utter turmoil for the Labour Party and the relentless savaging of Corbyn in the mainstream media.

From a refusal to sing the national anthem, to arguments over trident and defence, to the Labour anti-Semitism scandal, to the Virgin train farce – Corbyn has staggered from one PR disaster to the next, with the baying media falling over each other in their eagerness to sink their teeth into him.

David Cameron described it best, when he said that Corbyn is like the Black Knight from Monty Python, just as he seems to have been defeated and cast aside, he gathers himself and limps on.

Jeremy Corbyn

Image courtesy of Eric the Fish on Flickr

But what this really seems to be demonstrating, is just how wrong the mainstream media are getting politics – three of the most seismic political events of the last year have been the Labour leadership contest, the EU referendum, and the US Presidential race – and so far the media have got two out of three wrong.

Nobody gave Corbyn a hope of surviving a month, then he wasn’t going to see out the new year, then every media outlet told us that Owen Smith was a far more ‘electable’ candidate. The Telegraph, the Sun and the Mail ridiculed him, the Guardian lamented his destruction of the Labour Party. If people believed all they read in the news Owen Smith would surely have thrashed Corbyn with a 99.99% majority.

And yet here we are, blinking at Groundhog Day twelve months on, with Corbyn securing his re-election in a head-to-head with Owen Smith by winning a commanding 61.8% of the vote.

But then what about Brexit? This surely was something that everyone knew the answer to. Every political party beyond UKIP was united behind the idea of staying in the EU.

The Prime Minister wheeled out experts from every imaginable industry to warn against the dangers of leaving the European Union. A ‘Leave’ campaign was fronted by the hapless trio of the lamentable Nigel Farage, the abject Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – a man with all the charisma of a pencil.

All conventional wisdom pointed towards one result – a vote to Remain in the European Union. But another result came and went, and again it went against the prediction of almost every informed expert. Why were people so drawn to Brexit? Maybe it was immigration, maybe it was sovereignty but once again it represented change – and this is how the Leave campaign pitched it – an alternative to the status quo.

Eu flag, brexit

Image courtesy of Marlena on Flickr

So now here we are, with a matter of weeks left until the next President of the USA is decided. Hillary Clinton has the bulk of the mainstream media –newspapers and TV networks on her side. She has the celebrities, the business people, the backing of the political elite.

But it all sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? Just how confident are the pundits feeling right now about who the next President of the United States will be? How confident does anyone feel in making any predictions over what’s coming next in politics?

Whatever you or I may think of Donald Trump (a great deal of it, I’m sure, is not printable) one thing he does represent is change. He may be incendiary, vitriolic, and arguably unhinged – but if there is one thing he doesn’t represent – it’s the political status quo.

First we got Corbyn, then we got Brexit. It’s crazy to think, but betting on Trump to win doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.

So buckle up, what happens next is anybody’s guess.

An identity crisis may be exactly what UKIP needs

By Simeon Goldstraw

Although Theresa May has now returned from Switzerland, presumably with a useful taster of how Britain might feel outside of the European Union, it is the schism within the Labour Party that continues to grasp the political headlines day after day. With the Labour leadership race dominating the political consensus during parliament’s summer break, you could be forgiven for forgetting that there are other leadership battles under way amongst Britain’s parliamentary parties.

Yet there are. The Green Party will announce its new leader (or leaders) at its party conference in Birmingham, with Caroline Lucas expected to return to the role, this time in coalition with Jonathan Bartley, whilst UKIP will swiftly follow suit, announcing its leader a fortnight tomorrow.

Arguably, UKIP’s leadership contest is as interesting as any this summer. Since taking over at the helm in 2009, Nigel Farage has defined the party, its message and its values. Under his leadership, the party earned its first ever MP, won the European Parliamentary elections in 2014, and became the third most-voted for party at the General Election last year. It also applied a hefty load of the political pressure which saw David Cameron first call for, then lose, the European Union referendum.

Nigel Farage UKIP Speech

Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore,

But in his own words, Farage now ‘wants his life back’, and UKIP must elect a new leader. The leadership contest was riddled with controversy before it even began. Party regulations stated that Douglas Carswell, the party’s only MP, would not be allowed to compete for the position, whilst the bookies’ favourite Steven Woolfe was also deprived of the right after submitting his application after the deadline.

Unusually by UKIP’s recent standards, since then it has managed to largely evade too much press attention. This media neglect may act as a tacit warning of the party’s future without Farage at its head: who the party elects as its next leader will face a steep challenge retaining the kind of attention Farage used to revel in. However, many are arguing that the new leader’s most important task is to make a decision about what kind of party UKIP will be in the future. It has campaigned throughout its lifespan for Britain to leave the European Union, and whilst it has not been a single-issue party for many years, it is that issue which has demarcated the party to many of its supporters.

The consensus is that the party faces a fork in the road. Does it look to broaden its appeal to either the left or right? Phillip Broughton, a former candidate for the party in the North East at European and General elections has centred his leadership bid on attracting traditional Labour voters. Broughton is advocating protection from the privatisation of the NHS and economic equality, with support for an Australian-based points system on migration and investment into the armed forces added to attract some of the party’s more typical membership.

The logic here is obvious. UKIP enjoyed electoral success in traditional Labour strongholds like the Valleys and Swansea at the Welsh assembly elections in May and followed that up with attracting a high degree of Vote Leave support in working-class areas like Middlesbrough and Doncaster during the EU referendum.

Alternatively, candidates including Bill Etheridge and Elizabeth Jones have emphasised that they see the party’s core electorate as being in the ‘shires’, the demographic which won over Tory defectors Carswell and Mark Reckless prior to the 2015 General Election. This would foresee UKIP following a more Thatcher-style ‘free market, strong state’ approach.


Image courtesy of Global Panorama,

The experts suggest that Diane James, another candidate from the same school, is the clear favourite for the contest, despite offending the other candidates by refusing to partake in the leadership hustings during the past month. This should not, however, be surprising. James may be on the right of the party, but, she is more renowned as a good communicator and popular people person than she is for her economic liberalism.

In the past few years, UKIP has forged itself a USP within the English and Welsh political landscape very similar to that the SNP retains in Scotland. Presenting itself as the party of the people, it has managed to engage and motivate the apathetic. It has emerged as the voice of those left behind by globalisation, neoliberalism, and Britain’s traditional major parties.

These demographics stretch beyond conventional left and right binaries. Sunderland, a city made by its ship building and coal mining industries, traditionally a rigid Labour fortress, ignored the message of its party and voted to leave the EU 61 to 39. The area of Breckland voted to leave by a similar margin, but in stark contrast to Sunderland, its constituency of Mid-Norfolk has only ever elected a Conservative MP.

This emphasises UKIP’s appeal. Outside of Britain’s major cities such as London and Manchester, which magnetise foreign investment, young talent and outward thinking, there is an electorate that UKIP have been able to capture the imagination of with its down-to-earth rhetoric. Farage’s distinctive approach has engaged with people where Oxbridge graduates and the Guardian have been unable to.

Channelling its energy towards either the left or the right will only limit UKIP’s appeal. A policy spearheaded on investment in public services cannot continue to attract the voters in Breckland, similarly, a more explicit support for the freedom of the market will struggle to convert those in Sunderland during the long term.

Naturally, there are those that argue UKIP must choose: Margot Parker, MEP for UKIP and Peter Whittle, London AM, have both argued in the aftermath of the referendum that UKIP must look to traditional Labour areas for its futures. But, the diversity in the party’s own leadership contest highlights how it has captured the imagination of people from across the political scale. Outside of the UK’s big cities, UKIP is as close to the catch-all party as any of its rivals.

Thus, the UKIP membership looks remarkably ordinary after all, the party’s leadership race will not be a case of which way it chooses, but simply who it chooses. Without the charisma of Carswell or Woolfe, the party has little choice but to turn Diane James. There is an air of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon about Farage and James. Farage has backed James for the post like Salmond did Sturgeon, and like Sturgeon, James has a steely, resilient approach which may prosper at the top of what is traditionally a men’s party. The influence of a woman at the head of UKIP should not be overlooked, much the same as the SNP, the party has found it easier to attract men than women in the past.

The challenge for James, a former Conservative supporter moulded during the Thatcher years, will be resisting some of her instincts. For all of the pints poured and cigarettes smoked, that was Farage’s greatest strength; his message retained its focus on those UKIP appealed to. In the background, Farage may have been an advocate for low taxation and small government, but that message never conveyed itself vehemently enough to deter those from working-class areas.

UKIP’s discourse must be far simpler, the party of the people, regardless of its leader.