Trying to hide the past creates more problems than it solves

In this highly connected communication age, every organisation, company and individual must show transparency at all times.

Of course, the exceptions are where personal data might be revealed to the public without good reason or state secrets or sensitive corporate materials.

But while I'm sure that cover-ups do happen successfully, no self-respecting PR consultant worth their salt will ever suggest trying to delete evidence or information nor try to absolve blame when things don't go according to plan or go wrong.

Journalists may be getting rarer as media organisations cut costs and their workforce but almost everyone has a smartphone these days and there are thousands of bloggers and tweeters happy to fill the void to a certain extent.

If a crisis or embarrassment occurs, it is always best to hold your hands up, express genuine sympathy and do everything in your power to make sure it doesn't happen again.

And if you have an archive of old documents or information which is available to everyone online, deleting it, as the Conservative Party has been reported to have done this week is a classic case in how to draw attention to your organisation for the wrong reasons.

Computer Weekly magazine, not exactly renowned for breaking stories of national political interest, reported that the Tories have deleted their archives from 2000 to May 2010.

That includes press releases, speeches and articles that undoubtedly refer to the Party's policies during that period. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into this deletion process, with an American search archive also being blocked by the Conservatives so that old pages cannot be discovered by other means.

A Tory spokesman said that the deletion took place in order to make the user experience easier for people visiting the website, perhaps giving them up to date information rather than reams of archives, even though this could have been clearly signposted in an archive section.

Labour has been quick to criticise their opponents for trying to delete history and remove any promises that have not been fulfilled while in government. That includes speeches where the Conservatives vowed to make MPs accountable via the internet if they were elected.

David Cameron also made speeches at Google conferences and events where he spoke of the internet "democratising the world's information," and that politicians would have to let go of information they had guarded so keenly. His comments now look hollow and underline the pitfalls of changing your opinion so dramatically.

By leaving these archives in place, the documents may have been used to show how Conservative opinions and policies have changed.

Anyone who really wants to find out what the Tories were saying a decade or so ago can go to The British Library anyway, which has an archive of most of the material that has been otherwise deleted.

The world has changed in so many ways since 2000, not least in terms of the internet and social media.

And this is the first coalition government for many years, so policies would have had to be adapted to accommodate two parties that were otherwise rivals for power.

By deleting their archive, the Conservatives look like a party trying to hide from their past rather than hold their hands up and admit that times change and opinions change.

They have overseen an attempt to censor the internet - and from any perspective, in particular that of a politician, censorship is never a good way to win support or voters.