by GK Strategy 30th October, 2013

Where Do I Sign?

I’ve been running an agency for 5 years. Prior to that I worked for a couple of public affairs firms for ten years or so. I’ve always been happy to sign up to a code of conduct; nothing I’ve done has ever been underhand, involved the exchange of brown paper bags stuffed with cash, or been even slightly close to illegal, but now I just don’t know where to sign.

It’s been called “a dog’s breakfast”; charities have said it will have a “chilling effect” on their legitimate activities; and Peers suggested they find “almost everything” about the Lobbying Bill troubling, but one thing is for sure: back to the drawing board is where this Bill needs to go.

Let’s start by looking at the problem. It isn’t the public affairs industry – we’re another strand of Public Relations, nothing more, nothing less. We help those that want help to refine their messages, to make sure it gets through to the people that make decisions or those that influences them. What exactly is wrong with that?

Oh I see, yes – it’s the patronage that occurs, the promises of cash for questions, the dodgy political party Treasurer who promises some meetings with the party elites.

But hang on: none of them are public affairs consultants. The stings have largely involved journalists and those on the periphery of politics trying to get in. “Friends” of Ministers etc…

Let’s not try and dampen an industry which, in a pluralist democracy, has a legitimate and necessary role to play.

Leave us to get on with what we do best: shouting loudly about our clients and their campaigns.

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