A t 11:36am on August 14, 2018, the Morandi Bridge in Genoa collapsed, dragging with it 48 cars and heavy vehicles. Forty-three people died, 16 were injured and 10 were pulled alive from the rubble.
This issue of Communication Director will go to print shortly before the European Parliament elections due on 23-27 May. By the time you are likely to read these words, the immediate results of the elections will be well known.
The European Parliament elections in May this year promise to be decisive for Europe, with forecasts suggesting that anti-EU populist political parties will challenge the incumbent mainstream parties.
"The trust of the mass population can no longer be taken from granted, and any continuation of the 'grand illusion' is dangerous for leaders in today's world."
Worries over European democracy are certainly justified.
Europe is showing visible signs of progress: in most countries, labour markets are healthier than they have been in a decade, with more people in work than ever before, while social exclusion is declining.
Fighting political campaigns in the digital realm is not new; but leading with a digital-first approach is. However, whatever the approach, simple, persuasive narratives are what win votes. A political postcard from the US elections.
Brexit. Trump. Macron. Kurz. AfD. Uprise against established systems, truths, and beliefs has become the new normal. We are (once again) moving into an age of mass movements.
My most uplifting moment in 2017 was watching freshly elected French President Emanuel Macron walk across the courtyard of the Louvre to the sound of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the official anthem of the European Union.
Dubbed "The Man Who Invented the Republican Internet”, Vincent Harries is a prominent exponent of digital political communications, advising everyone from Rand Paul to Benjamin Netenyahu on how to target voters online.