- The seeds of this were sewn long before the COVID pandemic. Many people have had a perception for years that Michelle Mone’s favourite subject was Michelle Mone above all else. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard her say anything that counters that perception.
- The company she keeps. The House of Lords, the title, the ‘offshore entrepreneur husband’, the yacht that featured in her social media pictures. Is all this Michelle’s idea of ‘making it’? Wander round the streets of Glasgow’s East End and you’ll hear some very different indicators of success. Spend some time speaking with the very people who’d have been wearing the PPE she hoped to supply. Ask what success means to them.
- In people’s heads, she remains linked with the money, the profit from the doomed PPE scheme. She can say repeatedly that it’s not hers, that it’s locked away in her husband’s trust fund, that she doesn’t and may never benefit – all of that can be true – but the public do not buy it. It seems to me very unlikely that Michelle will be able to enjoy a repaired reputation AND a marriage to Barrowman while that money is sitting in his trust fund. The problem here is, if we take her at her word, it’s not her money to give back, even if she wanted to. Even for Mr Barrowman to give it back will be quite complicated and may trigger tax implications. They may also feel that returning the money could be deemed by some to be an admission of some of the accusations they’re facing. I wouldn’t see it that way but appreciate the concern. The fact remains – if Michelle Mone truly wishes to have any chance of restoring her reputation she needs to be seen to go as far as humanly possible to distance herself from that money. There may be a conflict here between PR advice, legal advice and financial advice. For me, reputation is everything.
- Self funded documentaries never work. They should delete it.
- Let’s go back to that initial desire to ‘help’. What is she doing to help? How about some down to earth, sleeves rolled up, practical help? There are many deserving causes either in the community she grew up in, or even a short walk or tube ride from the House of Lords. She should get involved. Don’t talk about it. Just pick something she has a genuine connection to and quietly get involved.
- It’s notable the lack of voices speaking up in support of Michelle. All those former colleagues from her MJM/Ultimo days, where are they? Other Scottish business figures. People she supported in her work as a business advisor or even pals from the House of Lords. Is there anybody out there? I haven’t watched the self funded documentary so perhaps they are included there but I haven’t seen any positive character references in the mainstream media or on social media. There is some criticism relating to employment tribunals she has been involved in and what I might describe as ‘a few loose ends’ relating to her days running Ultimo’s parent company. Again, if she’s serious about improving her reputation she needs to take some of this on.
- There are two investigations currently on-going into the whole affair. They will take time and she needs to be seen to co-operate with them fully. The outcome of these may have further bearings on her reputation but if everything she’s saying is true then she should not fear these and in time, if she also addresses the points above, the outcomes of these investigations may ultimately help her.
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