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Yelland could be a modern Cato. ‘To anyone running a large organisation, or any person of influence, ask yourself one question: “Did anybody in your advisory circle expect Brexit
and Trump? Have you got yourself into a world where everyone on your staff is as out
of kilter with the body politic as you are?” If you look at some of the biggest companies in the world, they are at a loss as to what has happened.’
The former Sun editor and Brunswick man now deals with private clients at a close, personal level, advising them on managing the media, especially the tabloids — which, he says, have had their finest year.
‘Circulation of tabloids has gone down, influence has not gone down,’ he says. ‘There is no doubt at all that the Sun, the Mail and the Express won the Brexit debate. Their power is in packaging up information and often misrepresenting the facts because they have an agenda, but that is what they have always done. When I was there I did it myself, so I can hardly complain — although hopefully I was on the right side.’
In such environments overexposure quickly gets you burned, he says, meaning it’s important not to overreact, and generally do less but do it well. ‘You will get bad publicity, it is the cost of doing business, and if you don’t get bad publicity you won’t be successful.’