The current state of big money lobbying is bizarre
Author: Zoe Stavri
Published on Oct 09, 2012
The secretive big money lobbying industry is a peculiar beast. Through the closed doors, we are only afforded the occasional glimpse of what they’re up to, a peek here and there at who’s meeting who.
The little glimpses we get often paint a bizarre picture. Take, for instance, Greg Barker looking awkward on a bike, pictured above. The bike was manufactured by a client of his adviser, energy lobbyist Miriam Maes. While we can only speculate as to the relevance of the manufacturers of the bike and their relationship with his adviser, as well as looking rather daft, it also doesn’t seem quite right.
Then there was the scandal surrounding Liam Fox and his adviser and best friend Adam Werrity, where, for a brief period of time the media focused on the two sharing hotel rooms and wearing the same suits, because these things are easier to pick up on than what issues they were discussing behind closed doors, and there was a vague sense of awareness that something wasn’t quite right.
And when the politicians try to hide their secretive meetings with lobbyists, things get downright ludicrous. Take, for example, allegations that Jeremy Hunt hid behind a tree so he wouldn’t be seen on his way to an event with James Murdoch. This led to some laughs at the Leveson Inquiry when Hunt was forced to utter the words “I did not hide behind a tree”. Whether he did or he didn’t, it’s all part of the same pattern: it’s happening behind closed doors, and we don’t know the full extent of the truth, so we focus on the strange.
It’s time to open up lobbying, to get to the truth and be able to report on the more substantial issues, and find ourselves better able to discuss what is and isn’t appropriate.
Co-sign our letter to lobbying minister Chloe Smith asking her prioritise the introduction of a statutory register of lobbyists
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Public meeting at Scottish Parliament about the introduction of a statutory register of lobbyists