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The Pre-emptive Close – What happens if a decision-maker appears to take sides in a controversial consultation?

The Prime Minister had a bad press the other day!

Nothing new in that you may say: but the occasion for criticism might have raised a few eyebrows among those who organise public or stakeholder consultations.

The charge against Tony Blair is that he has effectively pre-empted the proper consideration of the Energy Review – a formal consultation document issued in January with a closing date of April 14th. His speech to the CBI dinner was on May 16th and his critics allege that it effectively overrides anything that comes out of the wider debate. In other words, to use the terminology of the salesman, the PM went for the “pre-emptive close” (n.b. textbook example – “I’m so glad you seem to agree. Now, what shall we do first?”)


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