PR advice from Mahatma Ghandi

They were one of this country’s most glamorous couples, and their acrimonious break-up has been painful to watch. The marriage of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi has descended into a tragic soap opera, but both sides should agree on one thing:  talking to the media is going to make it much, much worse. Marriages, even those between public figures, should be intensely private, and outsiders should be left to guess at what happens behind closed doors, yet Mr Saatchi has repeatedly gone to the newspapers. He used the Evening Standard to explain his public throttling of his wife as part of a playful tiff and the kind of thing they like to do to each other. While that was probably more than we needed to know, it might have partly restored his reputation and might have convinced some readers that he was not a wife beater. Heaven knows what Ms Lawson made of this defence, but as a PR strategy it might eventually have worked, provided everyone from then on maintained a dignified silence. But the millionaire art collector husband destroyed his own strategy by announcing in the cruellest possible fashion – via the front page of the Mail on Sunday – that he was divorcing her. Up to this point the TV chef had kept quiet, until today, when “friends” revealed to The Sun that he hadn’t warned her about divorce and that Ms Lawson was devastated. Thus Mr Saatchi’s attempt to gain some of the moral high ground has been an utter failure, and now he looks even more of a bounder. We can only guess whether this is a truly abusive relationship or one of those spectacularly stormy marriages that some people seem to thrive on. If it is worth saving they had better both put a gagging order on their friends. And Mr Saatchi might try to remember the words of Mahatma Ghandi: “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” – GARETH WEEKES, Deep South Media Ltd.