Posts Tagged ‘Bell Pottinger’

The cure for lobbying scandals is simple: More politicians with backbone

20/04/2012, 07:30:40 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Come the nuclear holocaust, political lobbyists will work for the invertebrates, bartering for concessions from the reigning cockroaches.

What is certain is that the indestructible public affairs industry will get past the government’s wishy-washy consultation on reigning-in Westminster’s pin-striped influence-peddlers which closes today.

Spurred into action by a cavalcade of lobbying calamities, ministers propose a statutory register of public affairs professionals; once they’ve blown the cobwebs of it from the last time it was proposed. So back around the track we go.

Constitutional affairs minister Mark Harper is in charge of spinning this old record. The stated purpose of the register is “transparency” in a bid to “open up politics” and make it “more accessible to everyone.” A White Paper is promised in due course.

But a statutory register (replacing the voluntary one that’s already in place) is roughly the equivalent of one of those photographs of a house for sale in an estate agents window. It’s a superficial gesture that gives us a partial flavour, a rough idea, without telling us anything specific about the contents – and only a fool would draw a conclusion on that basis.


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