Saturday, 20 July 2013

Cameron and Crosby

Judge them by their deeds (part 25)

Prior to becoming PM, Cameron made this prediction about lobbying: 
It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.”

The Conservative leader said that the “£2 billion industry” has a big presence at Westminster and take in some cases MPs are approached more than 100 times a week by lobbyists.”

He said he wanted to shine “the light of transparency” on lobbying so that politics “comes clean about who is buying power and influence.” Telegraph Feb 2010

OK. So far so good. How has he done since then? The evidence is damning. 

In March 2012 our PR PM had this to say about the sale of cheap alcohol.

This isn’t about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new kind of stealth tax – it’s about fast immediate action where universal change is needed…
If the minimum price is 40p a unit, it won’t affect the price of a pint. In fact, pubs may benefit by making the cheap alternatives in supermarkets more expensive.” Telegraph.

Also in March this year a senior ‘Whitehall source’ told the Guardian of the government’s plans to introduce plain packaging on cigarette packs.

We are going to follow what they have done in Australia. The evidence suggests it is going to deter young smokers. There is going to be legislation.”

One week ago - in a day described as ‘a day of shame for the government’ by a Tory MP, Sarah Woolaston, (who happens to be a GP) the plans to combat young people beginning smoking and to introduce a minimum price for alcohol were both dropped. 

Since then Cameron has been under fire for caving in to the lobbying of his political guru - Lynton Crosby - the aussie rotweiller brought in to smear, denigrate and generally pour buckets of filth on anyone who stands in the way of the Tories being elected next time. 

That is not his only job. He is also the co-founder of an international lobbying firm Crosby Textor. Among their clients are Philip Morris, the cigarette giant and multi-national energy companies.

Lynton Crosby's firm, CrosbyTextor, lists tobacco as being among the industries it represents. The Guardian reports that one of those clients is cigarette giant Philip Morris. he also represents alcohol companies according to the Independent. 
Labour Party shadow health minister Andy Burnham claims Crosby chaired a strategy meeting with tobacco bosses to discuss ways to block the plain packaging plans.” Guardian  19th July ‘13

Yesterday it emerged that Crosby was also closely connected to the fracking industry. This emerged after the announcement by George Osborne that the fracking industry were to get tax breaks to help develop the industry across Britain. Nice one Lynton. 

The ‘light of transparency’ is currently hidden behind a cloud of tobacco smoke and shale gas. 

Does Cameron have a clue what he actually believes in and stands for? Following his little speech about the need to tackle cheap booze he said that his was a government that gets things done. Oh yeah. Right. 

On similar lines his plans to ‘reform’ the lobbying industry have been described as window dressing that leaves 95% untouched.

That will suit Crosby and his corporate chums.

As ever Steve Bell nails the issue:

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