Silvio Berlusconi has responded with characteristic bluster to Italy’s downgrade by S&P. In a statement he said the report “seems dictated by newspaper hearsay … and seems fouled by political considerations”. Strong words — but a silly move as his otherwise solid messages fell on deaf ears. The key strategic priority is to make it possible to have the view revised without it looking like a climb-down. Insults will only gum up the works. ‘Disappointing’ and ‘surprising’ should be the guiding words. Be neutral always and avoid name-calling. Not because we want to be Zen but because it is practical.
The PR Verdict: C Minus. Stop whining and take the high ground.