During the collapse of the Truss government, Labour weren’t shy in attacking what they claimed was the “malign impact” of “opaquely-funded think tanks” on the agenda of the Government.
Guido’s old enough to remember Angela Rayner claiming “lobbying in Britain is a black box”, and promising “Labour will look to broaden the scope of lobbying rules, including transparency on who funds them.” Business as usual so far…
Given Labour published their hefty manifesto blueprint yesterday – with a section on “cleaning up Westminster” – Guido was interested to see how they’d go about enforcing this new era of transparency.
The word “lobbying” doesn’t appear once in the document.
Perhaps the exclusion of this urgent reform is related to the following reference:
“We also drew significantly on primary research conducted by Our Scottish Future, including Scotland in a Zoom and original polling and focus groups carried out over the summer of 2022.”
Our Scottish Future is, of course, a think tank masterminded by Gordon Brown, with an advisory board and staff made up of former politicians, SpAds, and lobbyists. Yet their funding is entirely opaque.
The recently relaunched Who Funds You campaign, run by left-wingers at OpenDemocracy, also mysteriously omits Our Scottish Future from their opacity index. A bit odd: the think tank is over two years old, and the pet project of a former PM. It is self-evidently lobbying to set the agenda for the next Government. Apparently, where thinking the unthinkable is concerned, it’s one rule for bodies sympathetic to Labour, and another for everyone else…