You ask the questions: Max Clifford
(Such as, PR supremo Max Clifford, how would you get Tony Blair out of a tight corner with a Soho prostitute?)
Wednesday 12 August 1998
If you had to marry either Antonia de Sancha or Lady Buck, who would it be?
Sandra Weaver, Cheltenham
Probably Antonia because she had a sense of humour, and there was laughter always. Lady Buck had a tragic life and it showed. Antonia could laugh, Lady Buck couldn't.
Do you view these questions and this article with any sincerity or do you see it as just another vehicle for self-promotion?
I didn't ask to do this interview. I never request interviews - it's not the way I work. I will say what I think and what I feel because that's the kind of person I am.
What would you advise Monica Lewinsky to do now? Would you like to represent her?
Selina Dean, Chislehurst
I wouldn't represent her because I don't think what she's doing is right. My advice all along would be: nobody can force you to say you've had an affair with someone.
Had she come to me, I'd say: if you're seen to be the person who brings down possibly the most popular president in American history, it could affect your future happiness. It's going to make her incredibly unpopular whether he gets impeached or not.
What ambitions do you have left, and what was your first job in PR?
Zeren Wilson, London
To carry on doing what I do for as long as possible and enjoy myself as much as I have done in the last 30 years. My first job was with EMI, helping to launch The Beatles and Tamla Motown in this country.
If it was discovered that Tony Blair visits prostitutes in Soho, how would you limit the damage?
Tom Hamilton, Doncaster.
I would get several of those prostitutes to come forward and say how Tony was a brother to them; how he spent ages counselling them, telling them how to escape and how there was hope for them. If it was about sex then I'd try to get Cherie to justify it; encourage her to say they have a sexual problem, that her husband's a naturally physical man and she literally arranged it because she loves him.
What is the one thing in your life that has enabled you to become the success that you are?
Aldous B, Kidderminster
Being in the right place at the right time. For example, I joined EMI in the early Sixties and was given an unknown band to launch called The Beatles.
I gather you're teetotal; surely the very nature of your job, and the speck of conscience you may have left, should dictate that you drink heavily and forget the anger that you cause!
I hope and believe that the people I've made angry by my work and actions thoroughly deserve what they got. So I have absolutely no conscience about the people I've upset. I just wish there were more that I'd been able to show up.
Having handled publicity for such gruesome individuals as OJ Simpson and David Mellor (in a roundabout way), is there anyone that you would refuse as a client and, if so, why?
I turn down requests for rich and famous people every week of my life, because I don't like either them or what they stand for. I never pitch for a client. I make up my own mind about whether to accept someone.
Whose downfall to which you have contributed has given you the most pleasure?
Hugh Hilton, London
Without doubt the last government. It gives me huge pleasure that I made a small contribution to their downfall by making sure that the word "sleaze" became associated with the Conservative government.
Amnesty International campaigns to free prisoners who have been put behind bars for engaging in non-violent opposition. What advice would you give those campaigning for the release of others still in prison in Nigeria and to end the human rights violations that put them there?
Amanda Barnes and Monique Roffey, Amnesty International UK Press Office, London
When we do a lot of work for causes worldwide, it always helps if you can get a someone who is media attractive involved. I'm not saying that's how it should be but it works - you've got a far greater chance of getting the message across.
Why is it that whenever the Clinton/Lewinsky saga seems to come to a head (as it were), Saddam Hussein seems to step in with a major distraction?
Malcolm Marriot, Peterborough
It's an interesting thought that the Saddam Hussein situation is a ploy to distract us from the Clinton situation, but that is taking PR too far.
Can you recommend a decent restaurant in Raynes Park [where Maxand his wife live, in south London]?
Peter Johns, Southall
I can recommend two. For a cooked breakfast you can't beat Eatwell on Grand Drive; there's also Manns - a Chinese restaurant. I've taken Muhammad Ali and Frank Sinatra to both, and they loved them.
What's your favourite paper?
Jean Pickering, Newcastle
I buy all of them everyday and enjoy different ones for different reasons.
Do you still stay in touch with Mandy eight-babies Allwood - what was the last thing you said to her?
Chris Williams, Brighton
No, I don't. The last thing I said was "Good luck and I hope things work out for you both."
Ever thought about dying your eyebrows or pruning them?
Diana Elliot, Luton
No, even though both my wife and daughter have made constant references to them over the years.
You must have a few enemies by now - who were you happiest to get the wrong side of?
Tessa J Pertwee, Aldershot
You might be surprised that it's not David Mellor: he didn't matter very much. It's those in power that I'm happiest about getting on the wrong side of; the corrupt, the arrogant.
Do you always feel that you're in the right when you represent someone?
Lesley Parsons, Tetbury
If I am not convinced, than I do not get involved.
Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell are powerful practitioners of the detestable art of political manipulation. Do you consider yourself suitably depraved to want to join them?
Hemant Solanki, Birmingham.
I don't consider myself depraved nor do I have any wish to join them. But without Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, it's quite probable that the sleaziest government this country has possibly ever seen would still be in power.
How can you justify media manipulation and scandal as the basis of a virtuous career?
Gayle Chalmers, Hampshire
Public relations is about getting the right message across. PR can also put the spotlight on corruption, get help to people when they need it and keep hospitals open - that's the power of the media.
By effectively ending David Mellor's political career, he launched himself as a media personality and we've been exposed to him far more as a result. If you feel bad about any dealings you've had, above all else do you feel guilty about this one?
Tim and Steve, Manchester
I take your point but I think from a Christian point of view I've done a good service in helping others feel better about themselves; no matter how ugly or repulsive you are, you can look at Mellor and think: "Oh, I feel better after all."
Has anything you've been told in secret ever shocked you, or are you cynical about human behaviour?
Wendy Tilston-Jones, Cheshire
The older I get, the less I am shocked. I'd hate to become cynical. Realistic is the word. Cynics never fall in love and there's a lot of love in my life.
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