Shock! Horror! Leading lobbying firm revealed to be very good at lobbying! The Independent has splashed today with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s undercover report in which members of one of Britain’s largest lobbying companies allegedly claim to have access to the British government.
In the report, titled Caught on camera: top lobbyists boasting how they influence the PM, it’s alleged (among other things) that David Cameron can speak to the Chinese premier on behalf of businesses. Nothing in the report is particularly new or surprising, but it’s still shocking to have it laid out in such blatant and bare terms. David Cameron has pledged repeatedly to tackle lobbying of this nature, but this report suggests that there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Perhaps the most shocking part of this, and the part that should be emphasised, is that nothing in the story is illegal. If the claims are true, they’re still perfectly within the limits of the law. Like it or not, lobbyists in the UK, the US and elsewhere wield enormous influence. If we support and reward such a system, should we then act so shocked?