"Crisis, what crisis?"
These were the infamous words that led to the Labour government's collapse during Britain's 'Winter of discontent' in 1979.
Although the phrase were apparently cooked up by a tabloid journalist, rather than spoken by the then prime minister Jim Callaghan, the sentiment itself has been levelled at governments all over the world plus a growing number of corporations.
In essence, it indicates a head-in-the-sand 'strategy' by senior politicians and executives to ignore what everyone else can see as clear as day, in the hope that it will either go away or be replaced by someone else's headline grabbing misfortune.
It was a lot easier in the 'bad old days' to spin, obfuscate or simply ignore bad news.
Not any more.
As is evidenced in the presentation by PRecious Communications' presentation, governments, organisations....and even individuals have got to adopt a new approach in the new age of social media.
The continuing credit crunch and financial uncertainty means that fifty per cent of British people don't trust their own partner with their money.
The recent study by the Yorkshire Building Society’s Trust found that "the harsh financial climate appears to be making the UK a less trustful place to live."
More than half of respondents pointed the finger at the economic crisis for the decline in trust, while nearly 60 per cent blamed money worries, financial security and high unemployment figures.
When it comes to who they could trust, the average number of people those questioned thought were trustworthy, was six. A staggering 70 per cent wouldn’t even trust their best friend with their secrets, while 12 per cent would keep their mouths firmly shut and not tell anyone anything.
Given the spate of recent scandals involving people in positions of trust, it's not surprising that 54 per cent of those surveyed credited a public fall from grace as one of "the major reasons for declining trust within society."
When it came to themselves, 92 per cent of those polled claimed to be trustworthy, with nine out of ten people saying that it was important for them to feel trusted.
That said, more than 40 per cent admitted to breaking someone's trust in the past 12 months. There's a little comfort in the findings that nearly 60 per cent felt guilty for breaking someone's confidence.
With 34 per cent of people questioned feeling that the UK is a less trustful place than it was a year ago, the survey points to the general trend of trust being gradually eroded in wider society.
These days, it is typical to hear or read about people being left with a deep sense of unease and gnawing doubt when it comes to believing promises made by politicians, assurances given by financial institutions and 'firm' commitments issued by public authorities.
Chris Pilling, Yorkshire Building Society’s Chief Executive, said: "It is clear the public feel trust is being eroded for a variety of reasons, one of which is the failings of the very people we look to in order to guide us through challenging times.
"Trust is a precious commodity – it takes a lot of time to build it and little time to lose it. It takes a lot for people to forgive those who break their trust."
To justify, validate or win back their position of trust, people and organisations need only do one thing: "don't let people down."
Or at least try.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.