Monthly Archives: June 2010

Lib Dem time for lobbying firms

Back in the late 1990s and early noughties, it was all the rage for lobbying firms to call in a New Labour type. A Blairite was usually the order of the day for hungry agency bosses, but for a brief period even Brownites were high up on the menu.

In 2007, the tide began to turn and Tories were suddenly back in demand. As Labour-leaning bosses sought to play down their backgrounds, a number of Tory aides trooped out of CCHQ in to their welcoming arms.

Is it now the turn of the Lib Dems?

This week, Politics International pounced for Lib Dem senior foreign affairs adviser Ben Jones.

Meanwhile, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs has just hired the party’s senior public services policy adviser Stephen Lotinga.

But that could just be for starters. With Lib Dem-lite lobbying agencies keen to show they understand all aspects of the coalition, and the party shedding 20 posts in its Cowley Street headquarters, Lib Dem insiders are braced for a mass defection in to the lobbying world over the next few weeks.

More here

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The restaurant that lobbying built. Is it any good?

‘Just had lunch for the first time at Roux Parliament Square. It is a real find.’

So Tweeted the never knowingly under-lunched Peter Bingle, top lobbyist at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, at 2pm on May 24th.

A few weeks later, Bingle and his ilk are still flocking to Michael Roux Junior’s trendy new establishment on Great George Street – to the extent that it is becoming difficult to spot MPs in The Cinnamon Club.

At least that was my experience last week. Maybe I just haven’t aquainted myself with all the newbies yet. But I raised the issue on Twitter and my hunch was confirmed in no uncertain terms by the mysterious yet all-knowing Jen725:

‘They’re all at Roux at Parliament Square these days.’

So there you have it. The lobbyists love it. The MPs are defecting.  The new place must be pretty good eh?

Er no, says The Guardian’s Jay Rayner:

‘When I say that a party of chartered surveyors would feel very comfortable here, I don’t mean it in a good way. It feels like the restaurant that political lobbying built, or at least that the idea of political lobbying built.

‘Let’s open a big fancy restaurant, they said, just an MP’s fart away from the Commons, where lobbyists can marinate politicians in Château Lafite and sticky veal jus and perfect crème anglaise.’

The food critic manages to convey the impression he and his pals might not be returning:

‘No, not on our own dime or even that of an eager political lobbyist.’

Oh well. More room for Bingle and the boys!

Osborne ignores Lib Dems but listens to lobbyists

The Lib Dems are keen to tell the media that they watered down the worst excesses of the George Osborne’s Budget, but Polly Toynbee has them eloquently banged to rights.

‘True some yellow ribbons decorated the axe handle, but they barely impeded the executioner’s swing.’

So, did anyone other than Dave and George have any influence on the Budget?

Step forward, Iain Anderson, director of financial lobbying shop Cicero Consulting. Writing on ConservativeHome, he says:

‘For me this marks the end of a long and hard fought campaign to scrap the compulsion to buy a pension annuity at age 75.’

Cometh the Autumn, cometh the lobbying blueprint

Newly-elected Labour MP Lisa Nandy has become the first MP this session to chase up Nick Clegg on his plans for a statutory lobbying register.

A written question tabled yesterday by the Wigan MP asked the DPM ‘when he plans to publish details of his plans for a statutory register of lobbyists’.

Alas, the Cleggster himself was not forthcoming on his plans announce future plans, but Cabinet Office minister Nick Harper did show some lobbying leg:

‘The Ministers will meet with representatives of the UK Public Affairs Council shortly to discuss how to create the most effective register, on a statutory footing. We hope to publish detailed plans in the autumn.’

PAC is back!

Sorry for the rather long blogging break, comrades. I got somewhat immersed in the general election and the fall-out…

But now things are bit less frenzied, Public Affairs Central is back!

Where do I start?

I was amused during the election period to see Labour types harranguing The Guardian for having the audacity to back the Lib Dems. Clearly some Labour folk were thinking that left-leaning papers should blindly back the party regardless of the path it pursues. Perhaps they won’t be so complacent in future.

The ensuing Labour leadership contest is threatening to be a rather depressing affair with four similar-looking New Labour creatures fighting it out in the final stages. But, given the huge numbers of MPs parachuted in to safe seats by Labour HQ since Blair became leader, are we surprised?

On the lobbying front, it seems that the Lib Dems have bounced the Tories in to backing a statutory register of lobbyists.  On the surface, this is a massive u-turn for Dave’s mob. But let’s be honest – it hardly makes up for the relatively weak deal that the Lib Dems secured on electoral reform…