Two very different men, thousands of miles apart, but each experiencing the same cataclysmic disintegration of status and career – the Reverend Paul Flowers, former Methodist minister, former Co-op bank chairman and former Labour Party member, and Rob Ford, still just Mayor of Toronto. Both have been reduced to ordinary citizens, with the added distinction that both are now disgraced ordinary citizens.
Such a spectacular fall has of course ignited the media’s interest and in most cases where a crisis has occurred, the advice is usually to come out and defend yourself.
Mr Ford has tried to tough it out in public but, like a child trying to climb a muddy slope, every attempt at forward movement simply results in a greater mess. On the other hand, the Rev Flowers – after an initial half-hearted defence that “I’ve had a difficult time” – has gone to ground. Who is right?
The truth is that both men are so deeply mired that any media interview will simply highlight their problems and cause further damage.
But it is a no-win situation. Silence on the part of the two men will simply test the ingenuity of a press pack who know the stories still have legs and will go to any lengths to keep them running – even if that means trawling back though past lives or, heaven forbid, embellishing the facts.
Eventually press and public attention will turn elsewhere. But until then the lessons are clear – never mix drink and drugs…and especially not with public office or bank chairmanship.