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October 30, 2007

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Dan McCall

I think that all so called Consultants should be banned from Washington, all they are there for is to take money from hard working people just trying to get their business in the door. WOW, If I had thousands of dollars to waste on a (Consultant)opps Lobby Person.is better, I'd just take my wares and sell em to the Chinese on my own ,since most of the corrupt banks and so called deregulators do it so well, look at the freakin mess we are in now. Wake up and smell the roses, before you get caught as well. Oh I'm sorry if I hit a nerve, maybe you can look in the mirror at night before you sleep.

London Lobbyist

Good stuff - free beer and the chance to change your mind. An irresistible challenge. I shall email you and we'll see.

paulflynn

Thanks for that.
The point is that '. 'Lobbyist' is now dirty word. 'Consultant' is a desirable description for all jobs from a surgeon to a rat-catcher.

Have a look at the Post Pharmageddon. There examples are given of how NHS priorities are distorted and dangerous over-expensive drugs are pushed. Is it sensible for Pharmas to spend more on marketing than on research? More on to-day's posting.

I always insist oon buying the first meal/pint when I meant journalists. The same rule applies to lobbyists. Look forward to seeing you.

London Lobbyist

Well here goes.....

Your first mistake is with the use of the word "lobbyist". It is the noun from the verb to lobby. Anyone lobbying is a lobbyist, whether a company, an charity, or indeed an individual, like one of your elderly constituents complaining about his or her pension. You surely are not arguing that lobbying is wrong! That is why the label lobbyist is misapplied.

Political consultant is fine as an alternative - after all that is why the APPC is called the Association of Professional Political Consultants. There is nothing wrong or to be ashamed of in offering advice on the best way to influence the political system any more than offering advice on anything else - whether it be on financing options for small businesses or on pruning your roses.

"The crude bribes of the recent past, trips, meals and money, have been replaced by intelligent targeted flattery." I trust you will bring forward the evidence of this. The APPC Code, to which the vast majority of the industry subscribe, prohibits the kind of corruption that worries people. Not every company is a member - they should be but I'm not convinced they can be forced to be without creating a special class of "lobbyist" which is not presumably what you want to achieve.

"I helpfully suggest that their clients should directly approach MPs because using lobbyists as a conduit only adds to their costs for no worthwhile purpose." Which clients? Large corporates tend to have in-house public affairs teams to advise them. They effectively do full-time what consultants otherwise would do for them part-time - is it really so different? Smaller companies who do not have the resources to employ in-house experts are surely entitled to seek professional advice to assist them when they need it.

"For good causes, ROPPRAs draft letters to MPs that are then sent under the letterheads of the charity." And the point is??? Are you seriously saying it is wrong for a charity to seek advice on how to draft letters. The large charities have people in-house who know how to draft them - why shouldn't the smaller charities have access to such advice when they need it?

"Mega-greed and ROPPRA together seek out constituents whose jobs or pensions are under threat unless Mega-greed expands." Get real - every good campaign considers the best case it can make. Are you suggesting that MPs are so niaive that they somehow have to be protected from campaigning? Surely not.

"Two years ago I was forced to draw to the attention of the House authorities abuses by lobbyists registered as ‘researchers’ to members." Again this practice is forbidden by the APPC Code.

"Rich and powerful bodies still buy extra advantages for themselves." If you mean through corruption, I don't think this is a serious problem at all. If you mean by buying advice, I fail to see the remedy. Maybe a legal aid system equivalent for lobbying? After all, the law is often criticised in similar terms, with the rich able to buy the best legal advice. What remedy do you propose?

Now a real challenge for you. I would love to share a pint or two with you (but don't expect me to pay for your beer!) and discuss these issues in an open-minded way. Who knows, you might persuade me to go off and become an accountant instead!

paulflynn

The US has been interesting but the the motive behind lobbying is same in both countries - to buy advantages. The dollar is mightier than the vote. I certainly reject much of the self-serving pompous twaddle in many of the submissions to PASC and I look forward to your comments and the evidence sessions. The committee is generally agnostice on regulation

Anon

You don't say. Well please don't confuse the US system with ours - merciful it is very different. The US is a great example of how regulation fails. I suspect I won't be a witness before the Committee - pity, I would rather enjoy it.

Paul Flynn

I have read the bundle of evidence submitted to the Committee and there was nothing in there to change my mind. This week we are looking at lobbying in the USA and my views have only strengthened.

Anon

I have already submitted my views to the Committee, thank you. If you would genuinely welcome a constructive discussion, with an open mind, of course I would be interested.

Paul Flynn

Would be pleased to hear about the reasons why you think I'm misinformed. As part of the investigation by the Select Committee we would welcome all input.

Do I sense a lobbyist replying?

Anon

What a sadly misinformed posting. Hopefully your inquiry will enlighten you!

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