Friday Caption Contest (Sith Edition)

This is a picture taken at a closed meeting held by the “non-political”, tax subsidised, “public educational charity”, the Smith Institute. In the middle is Wilf Stevenson, the institute’s director, on the left of him is James Purnell, Minister for Creative Industries. On the right of Wilf is Eric Nicoli, Chairman of EMI group, a business regulated by the Minister. Around the table are industry lobbyists and vested interests.
At the meeting, according to a transcript obtained by Guido, Eric Nicoli told Wilf “We have the problem that the political agenda is, on average, about two years out in terms of the time horizon because of elections and so on, yet we are here trying to develop something for the longer term. So I agree, not least because prime ministers and chancellors seem to last a bit longer than the average minister, that we should go after them and be relentless in our pursuit of our objectives.

Wilf, who says the institute is non-political and “has no direct relationship with Gordon Brown”, told Eric at the meeting “What you are going to say will have a great impact on the government’s thinking”.

EMI then paid £29,375 to the New Statesman, owned by Geoffrey Robinson, the former paymaster general. The Gordon Brown backing New Statesman rents office space to the Smith Institue at below market rates. EMI has also made undisclosed*, but substantial donations to the The Smith Institute. Nor is this the only Smith Institute/New Statesman event organised by Konrad Caulkett and sponsored by EMI over the last two years.The Smith Institute held a seminar on copyright reform at No. 11 just before Gordon’s big PBR speech last week. It was a happy affair. Later, in his PBR speech Gordon went outside his usual brief to announce reform of copyright legislation.

So co-conspirators, what was Eric Nicoli really saying to the Smith Institute meeting?

*Neither EMI or the Smith Institute were willing to make a comment.




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