I have been on tenterhooks for 48 hours, perched on the edge of my seat waiting for one particular reaction to one of the week’s bigger stories.

At times I’ve struggled to sleep with fevered anticipation.

But this morning my impatient waiting game drew to a close.

The reaction was posted, the week’s big story now seemed almost complete. We can rest easy in our beds everyone, Lichfield’s MP has finally commented on the Government’s plans to create a new high-speed rail link that will cut through his constituency at a dizzying rate of knots (or mph).

Although the story broke on January 10, Michael Fabricant chose to keep his own counsel until January 12 in order to give the local weekly newspaper first dibs on his thoughts. He was given opportunity to give an instant reaction by local news blog LichfieldLive, one he chose to pass up in favour of an “exclusive” to the weekly paper.

It is a tried and trusted method of media management that politicians have used for many years. Indeed, it is one I have exploited in previous guises as a local newspaper reporter and news editor.

But it is a tactic that seems a little outdated now, particularly when the world and his wife was so quick to give their response to the story on January 10. Indeed, Mr Fabricant himself has hardly been shy in the past when it comes to offering comments on HS2 and promising to support those constituents fighting against the high-speed rail link.

Those same constituents would have reasonably expected their MP to add his comments to the rest of the reaction generated on January 10. And in these days when information and news is gathered 24/7 from a wide variety of sources, waiting 48 hours for a response that is delivered in one outlet seems clumsy to say the least.

Michael Fabricant

At least now the wait is over and the people of Lichfield can digest their MP’s response – if they read Lichfield Mercury’s website or scan a copy of the weekly paper, obviously.

Mr Fabricant is a social networker of sorts. He clearly dips into his Twitter account when it suits and he seeks to engage some of his constituents on Facebook – either platform would have provided the perfect vehicle for him to share his thoughts on HS2 on January 10.

At least we now have his reaction to HS2 to digest. Whether it was worth waiting 48 hours is another matter.

HS2 and the impact on Lichfield is a story that will run and run for many years to come. Hopefully future attempts at media management by the district’s elected representative will be a little less heavy-handed and his response will be a little more immediate.

In the meantime I can sleep soundly in bed at last…actually, I probably can’t. The sleepless nights this week have been largely due to another type of fever – a virus which has left me with a blocked sinus and a sore throat.

At times it has felt like I’ve had a big, lumbering diesel locomotive rumbling through my head.

I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel, not something shared by the HS2 protestors.


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