The new Bell Pottinger Public Affairs blog is worth keeping an eye on, if only to keep up with the latest musings of its effervescent chairman Peter ‘Morecambe’ Bingle.
Bingle, like many other lobbyists, is gearing up for party conference season. But only one conference is on his mind. And it is certainly not the Labour Party event in Brighton, which kicks off this weekend.
Of course, Bingle’s gaze is firmly focused on the Tory knees-up in Manchester. He is optimistic that – despite recent warnings that the public affairs industry should back off from lobbying the Tories – Team Dave will be engaging with lobbyists after all:
‘So what will happen in Manchester? Business and Tory shadow ministers and their advisers will meet and engage in conversations. Public affairs teams will help to manage engagement programmes as they have since time began. Is any of this sinister? Of course not. Politicians and business need to talk to each other. This is particularly true during times of political change.’
Bingle may well have a point, but the Tories are also petrified of the negative headlines associated with lobbyists. So the question arises: Which is greater – the potential benefits of thorough policy formulation or the potential pitfalls of negative cash-for-access headlines?
Of course, it depends who you ask at Tory HQ…