Cameron Penny is a financial services lobbyist. Follow Cameron on Twitter.
Last month, the Government published the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, finally making good on a three-year-old promise. Reactions to the Bill came quickly. The Association of Professional Political Consultants (@APPC_UK), of which I am a member, rightly pointed out that the Bill would lead to less transparency than under the current voluntary code that it polices. The Guido Fawkes blog (@GuidoFawkes) noted that the Bill would only capture one per cent of lobbyists.
I tweeted Guido – or rather ‘the blog’, as they’re keen to point out Paul Staines isn’t the sole author – to thank them for supporting the APPC’s call for a stricter Bill. They got in touch to let me know they didn’t support us, and that “lobbyists are a hindrance to democracy”.
You can at least see that the blog is reflecting a commonly held public sentiment. It’s a sentiment that some people want to nurture; that all lobbyists are greasy, envelope-swapping, toffy little schoolboys in suits running between champagne lunch and expensive dinners where they manipulate the democratically elected representatives of the people.