For your eyes only
I was curious to read a council report in which the Chief Executive was critical of a bus group who, he said, were ‘hypocritical’ when announcing service cuts.
I read on, wondering how he reached this conclusion. It turns out, he’d been reading the group’s annual report which, of course, portrayed the company as a burgeoning profit centre with ambitious plans for growth and improving profit margins… as almost all annual reports do.
In this profession and in an earlier stint in PR, I quickly learned that although your messaging may be different for your various stakeholders, don’t be surprised if your puff turns up on the desk of someone for whom you’d prefer to paint a bleaker picture, such as councils or, indeed, unions.
The current round of service cuts is also generating comment from a public which simply doesn’t understand that commercial bus services can’t be run for ‘essential users’ only. The situation is not unlike most insurance, pensions, and indeed social welfare; you have to pay it forward. You may not need the NHS as a young adult, but if you don’t pay in, it won’t be around when health problems come thick and fast. Likewise buses; ride the bus now and then, while you can still drive, or when you can’t, there won’t be any services.
This messaging needs to be front and centre of the debate right now. People are innately kind, and suggesting that they should take the bus to help others, and indeed their future selves, may have resonance in these straitened times.
* I read that the government is clamping down on solar farms on the basis that farmers should be using low-grade land for growing food.
This is very odd from a party which is always claiming it’s pro-choice and that business is best placed to make commercial decisions. As we gallop towards electric transport and energy independence, how will we ‘green’ fuel? If this came with a plan to mandate solar panels on suitable commercial premises (which, after all, are already connected to the grid) it might have some merit, but for reasons I do not comprehend, this idea is never mentioned by governments.
There are 2.5 billion square metres of south-facing or flat commercial roof space in the UK, which would generate an astonishing 400gW of electricity, not only powering many premises in daylight but feeding into the grid when we’re not working. Peak electricity demand in the UK is around Coupled with battery storage, that could be a significant contribution to Net Zero.