The emergent lobbying smokescreen… 12 months to bury bad news

This lobbying scandal was so tediously inevitable that none other than the spoon-faced spam-javelin himself foretold of it in a speech in 2010.


Edited to save you the misery of seeing his frowning fizzog.

He promised a Conservative government would stop the lobbying industry’s attempts through former ministers to access and influence policy.

And now here we are, 40 months on from that speech, of which Cameron has been prime minister for 36. At the time, he was quick to pour scorn upon Gordon Brown.

Mr Cameron also used the speech to attack Gordon Brown for failing to get a grip of the reform of the Commons in the wake of the expenses scandal.

But what has he done? What actually could he have done? As far as I can tell, those caught up in the current farrago were breaking existing rules (or at least guidelines).

Nevertheless, now the manure is all in the HVAC system, Something Must Be Done. The question is “what is something?”


We’ll ignore the comedy anger displayed by despicable toerag Douglas Alexander, because he doesn’t merit anything but derisory laughter.

The only specific mention of lobbying in the Coalition Programme for Government is in section 16 – Government Transparency – where they say:

We will regulate lobbying through introducing a statutory register of lobbyists and ensuring greater transparency.

It’s a pretty narrow commitment, and I’m not at all sure even if it had been implemented it would have prevented what has apparently happened in this latest sting. Nevertheless, it goes along way to giving the lie to any attempts by the Tories to blame the Lib Dems for blocking attempts to do something earlier.

Now we’re almost certain to see a kneejerk response and a massive sticking plaster will be put over the whole problem, but it’ll be too little too late.

More will inevitably come out. This issue stands to dominate the news for 12 months or more just like the expenses scandal did. I don’t really want that to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see each and every MP and Peer kicked out of an aeroplane 2000 miles off the coast of Ireland, but lets just manage our expectations here. The fat, rich and powerful will continue to get fatter, richer and more powerful. Perhaps there’ll be a scapegoat or two, but nothing of great significance will change. And you can choose to get bent out of shape about it or not. I’m choosing not to.

Yes, corrupt members of parliament should be investigated and exposed. They should experience the full force of the law, of parliament, of their parties, the media and their constituents.

But we need to keep a sense of proportion. There are far bigger, far more important things going on. Changes to the foundation and fabric of this country on the economy, health, welfare, defence, policing, immigration, the EU, law and access to justice.

Whether or not I agree with any of the changes is irrelevant. They must be scrutinised fully by the media and the public, and judged upon their outcomes. The media do not have infinite resources and the public have a profoundly finite attention span. Every minute spent investigating and reporting on corrupt MPs & Peers is a minute that could and should be better spent digging into these things that are going to change our country and continue to have an effect for many years to come.

Compared to the governments agenda, the misdeeds of a predictably greedy and immoral polity is just a sideshow. Or rather a smoke-screen. The Outrage Bus will be so resolutely destined for the lobbying scandal that the government will inevitably exploit the misdirection to bury the shit out of bad news.

An outrage bus, yesterday. (via

So while this storm in a sewer is raging, keep your eye on the real game.



One thought on “The emergent lobbying smokescreen… 12 months to bury bad news

  1. And when we get a register of lobbyists, what then?

    Lobbying will be seen as ok, because it is by someone who is officially sanctioned to be doing it. Meanwhile, those pesky journalists who want to set up a sting operation will find it impossible as they won’t be registered lobbyists so the politicians will know they are journalists instantly.

    So who is this intended to protect, anyway?

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