News Commentary – Nov 18, 2012
It appears that the former Conservative Party treasurer is more than a maligned public figure after being accused of molesting young boys. He is also something of a Machiavelli admirer having written on the ploys that can be used to evoke sympathy in an unwitting public.
Some years ago Lord McAlpine was quoted saying some interesting things while promoting his book The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business, which throw new light on his response to the allegations.
We’ll get to those quotes a little later but first it’s worth recalling McAlpine’s shock at the recent accusations made against him.
“I was in a state of total shock really”, he was quoted as saying.
“I was in southern Italy. I don’t have a television, I don’t get newspapers and we don’t have the internet. I suddenly found out I was mixed up in this and I didn’t know what Newsnight was going to say about it.
“It really was a horrendous shock.”
Call me cynical but I cannot help feeling that McAlpine has been making a great play of being a “victim”. By his own admission, he was left “terrified” after the BBC Newsnight implicated him in the child sex scandal
“It gets into your bones, it makes you angry, and that’s extremely bad for you to be angry, and it gets into your soul and you just think there is something wrong with the world.”
Before we start feeling too much sympathy for Lord McAlpine however, we shouldn’t forget that the “shock” he felt was also very profitable. The BBC agreed to a settlement figure with McAlpine of nearly £190,000, paid for with viewers licence fees.
Much like the “holocaust industry”, Lord McAlpine’s ordeal has proved very profitable indeed.
All of which brings us back to McAlpine’s earlier advice based on Machiavelli’s example.
‘McAlpine’s advice on dealing with the media? Spread false defeat to gain public sympathy; or false accusation and then arrange for it to be exposed as such – so the accuser will forever be treated with suspicion.’ (Source)
In 2000, when The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business was published McAlpine readily agreed when it was described as:
‘A book on how to manipulate people for the greater good’ (ibid)
The book’s publisher’s blurb described it as:
‘The New Machiavelli mines Machiavelli’s The Prince for the timeless rules and stratagems that can help today’s business rulers survive and prosper in the jungle of greed and treachery that is commerce.’ (ibid)