Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

The PR Campaign Over De La Rue And That Passport Contract

A little amusement here which is a useful lesson in how politics and the award of government contracts actually works. De La Rue lost that contract to print the new post-Brexit passports, as we know. There then starts to be a series of articles in the newspapers about how the firm that won the contract, some J. Foreigner or other, has been screwing up on other such contracts around the world.

My, isn’t that a coincidence? Or even good and determined digging by varied journalists? Or, maybe and just possibly, you know, there’s a campaign going on behind the scenes? My opinion, and I write as someone who knows quite a bit about this sort of stuff, is that there’s a campaign going on. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that I know who’s running it too, an old friend. On little more than knowing that this is what he does for a living and that he’s London’s expert at doing it.

For example:

The Franco-Dutch firm set to print the new blue passport was last night facing questions over a bungled contract with the Peruvian government.

Gemalto, which won the British contract ahead of UK firm De La Rue, helped make new e-passports for the South American nation as part of a consortium.

But the high-tech documents came in for huge criticism after they were introduced in 2016, it has emerged. Problems included typos and peeling covers.

We all do think that the Daily Mail’s reporting staff has the contacts and knowledge to be able to dig up problems with an ID card project in Peru, don’t we? Oh yes, we do! Just as their knowledge base extends to Estonia:

Fresh security fears were last night raised about the Franco-Dutch firm chosen to make Britain’s post-Brexit passports.

Gemalto, the Government’s preferred bidder, was revealed to have supplied Estonia with as many as 750,000 ID cards with security flaws.

Experts suggested the company could be linked to millions of cards vulnerable to cloning and identity theft, sold across Europe, including to at least one government and several private businesses.

The cards were said to contain chips and software sourced by Gemalto from a German firm.

Under the Home Office deal, it is thought Gemalto will also be responsible for sourcing the biometric chips for British passports.

No, really, we do think the Mail’s employing people who know how to dig into these things, don’t we?

Good, that’s settled then, this is purely and wholly a result of damnded good investigative reporting by the Daily Mail.

It absolutely isn’t, in no manner, the losing bidder hiring a PR firm to then retail such stories to the British press. There aren’t companies that do this, are no specialists in this dark art and they’ve not been hired to talk to tame journos who will pick up a story and run with it as part of a political campaign. There is no attempt to change public perceptions – not that that would work of course. For we voters don’t get a choice here but one could imagine that the couple of hundred people who could shout about this contract – some sub section of Tory MPs perhaps – could be influenced by the existence of stories in the newspaper their wives read.

No, it’s excellent that we can rely upon the reporting of the Mail unaided, isn’t it? For such campaigns don’t exist and there isn’t one here. Entirely.

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6 years ago

It was excellent watching Remainers argue that because an EU company ends up selling us goods because we are currently banned from stopping EU companies selling us goods, that means we must reverse the process that would allow us to stop EU companies selling us goods and remain in the system that prevents us stopping EU companies selling us goods.

6 years ago

It’s inconceivable that a company rolling out new technology, such as passports with chips in them, would not experience some bugs. This media effort to play a drumbeat (and, yes, let us ask “Who benefits?”) is like the current American shark attack against EPA administrator Pruitt — Trump’s most successful minister in terms of diverting his agency away from advocacy and halving its size, mostly by attrition of its Green agitators — over financial arrangements that are ethically “troubling” when you omit the details. Story after story, until every use of his name can be preceded by “beleagured” or “controversial.”… Read more »

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