Party Animals

Just watching the new political drama PARTY ANIMALS. Very entertaining.Like the website Village Vermin. What's more they have even gone to the trouble of registering and building a website. Pity they don't link to Tory Radio!

Lobbying – friend or foe?

 I read with interest this story from BBC news online about the lobbying industry. The report focuses on a report by the Hansard society into the lobbying of MPs.

I have to admit that I have been paid to do lobbying for both one of the biggest public companies in the UK and more recently for one of the biggest PLC's in the UK so I do come at this from a certain perspective.

I firstly find it somewhat perplexing to hear arguments from people who believe lobbying is somehow a bad activity or something that shouldn't be done. If anyone thinks that MPs know everything about every subject that they are sadly mistaken. What lobbyists do is present their side of the case – sometimes on behalf of a company or client – other times on behalf on an interest group or indeed charity.

What I found interesting was that whilst MPs stated that they trusted charities more when they were lobbying them, the survey suggested that 51% of them were contacted by charities at least 20 times a week.

So far from lobbying being undertaken by bluechip companies one thing that comes out of this survey is just how much money charities must be spending attempting to influence our decision makers. I wonder just what budgets some of the big charities spend on this activity.

Stephen Pound, the Labour MP for Ealing commented, "Every single day we get a blizzard of e-mails, a snowstorm of post.

"It's one of the most flagrant wastes of money in modern politics, mostly because MPs are contacted in a scattergun way, rather than with precision."

I think Stephen is right – there is an immense amount ofmoney wasted in trying toinfluece MPs. do you think MPs have time let alone actually WANT to read a companies Annual Report? Yet believe me-some companies still send them. For me this is an interesting area. I wonder how long it is before lobbyists and campaign groups finally really embrace the new media and new technology as effective tools for lobbying?

The art of negotiation part 19

This story really does beggar belief when you actually read it. Effectively GPs have been allowed to opt out of evening and weekend work for only a 6% pay cut.

According to a Dr Fradd,part of the negotiating team, "We got rid of it for effectively 6% of the value of the contract. It was just stunning. Nobody in my position had ever believed we could pull it off but to get it for 6% was a bit of a laugh."

Yes – highly amusing isn't it! In fact I better not laugh too much or my sides may split – but there may be no after hours doctors around!

Just remember don't feel ill unless it's during working hours.

Off to Birmingham

In the last Challenge the Chairman interview Francis Maude ran through the various options for party conference.A story in today's Birmingham Mail suggests that in 2008 the party will be off to Birmingham. 

What a bad day for Blackpool- no casino and no Tory Conference in 2008.

Viva Manchester

Iain Dale is busy eating his hat – as the super casino is going to Manchester. I don't particularly gamble- though have always liked the slot machines when I used togo to Bridlington each year. My biggest worry is that the Government appear to be basing their regeneration schemes on gambling – which certainly brings it's own social problems.

I remember being at a meeting where one of the representatives working for one of the companies wanting to build casinos, when challenged about what effect lots of casinos would have suggested that given there was almost unregulated gambling on the internet – why regulate it on the high street.

I shan't name the MP who hit back, but I thought it was a goos point when he said that there is also no regulation for porn on the internet – but he didn't think that was necessarily a good argument for it moving to the centre of our cities.

The gambling debate will go on.

Make your car more environmentally friendly

 Well OK,it won't do that – but it's still worth having!

Kelly to resign?

Following this announcement will Ruth Kelly have to resign as a matter of principle?