The Financial Times reports that James O’Shaughnessy, David Cameron’s former director of policy and a key figure in drafting the last Conservative manifesto, has been hired by Portland, a lobbying company, to take up a newly created post of “chief policy adviser”in order to provide insights into Tory thinking to corporate clients.
Mr O’Shaughnessy has a closer and more recent relationship with the PM than Tim Collins, former MP and Tory head of communications and now managing director of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, who was secretly recorded claiming to have access to Mr Cameron and George Osborne.
Portland’s clients include Google, Apple, McDonald’s, Vodafone and BAE Systems. The company issued a statement saying that James O’Shaughnessy would “advise clients on the priorities of the coalition and in particular the Conservative party”.
The role of lobbyists is of continued concern, not least because of questions about the role of Adam Werrity as an adviser to his friend Liam Fox, the former defence secretary and the boasts of Tim Collins.
Nick Clegg has said the government is pressing ahead with plans for a statutory register of lobbyists, adding: “There’s nothing wrong with lobbying in theory, as long as it’s done transparently in practice. That is what we’ll be seeking to do and pass through legislation as soon as we can.”
Government delays acting on its own words as it bows to vested interests
Mr Clegg’s statement means as much as the frequently repeated undertaking that government is pressing ahead with a supermarket adjudicator.
Government should keep pre-election promise and install a supermarket adjudicator – with teeth – now
The promise to ensure that supermarkets deal fairly with food producers
11 years after the findings of the Competition Commission, under the current timetable, a full Bill is not due until after May 2012. The Adjudicator might not be in place until 2014 or 2015.
Why? The bill has cross-party support
As noted on an Indian website, large corporations and government are very close. The large supermarkets give donations to party funds and sponsor conference events.
They also offer lucrative full or part-time appointments to bolster the incomes of friendly MPs, Lords, civil servants and advisers, some of whom who pass forwards and backwards through the revolving door between government and corporate employment, taking with them their influence, contacts and inside information.