Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rent

So, I get this invitation....

I wonder if you might be willing to give the after-dinner speech at our client Christmas lunch at xxxxxx next xxxxxxx? The idea was that we get a Conservative PPC to speak, but, should you be willing, I feel you would fit the bill even better. We are a Public Affairs consultancy specialising in xxxxxx issues. At present, our clients' main concern is what a Conservative government would mean for the industry. The intention at the Christmas lunch, rather than strictly talking shop, is to have a more general, entertaining and sparky speech with a Conservative twist.

Anyway, unfortunately we can't offer a fee, but there will of course be complimentary christmas lunch and drinks in the rather splendid setting of xxxxxx.

Now, let's set you a multiple choice test. Do you think my answer was along the lines of...

a) Thanks so much for your kind invitation. Of course I would love to give your clients the benefit of my wisdom for the price of a slice of roast turkey and a mince pie.

or

b) So, er, you are inviting your commercial clients to a lunch. These clients pay you money for insight into the Conservative Party. You get a fee but I don't. How does that work, exactly?
What would you have said?

There are plenty of people out there who will bear testament to the fact that I often don't charge for speaking (I never charge charities, Tory Party events etc, for example). But in the end we all have to earn a crust and if you're a commercial organisation and want to book me to speak I am afraid a fee is chargeable. And the very charming Daniel Rix at Specialist Speakers will be happy to talk to you about it!

26 comments:

Tom said...

If they're offering free food I'd gladly go and talk to them about what it's like to be unemployed under Labour.

Bill Quango MP said...

That's how these things work Mr D.

So Nadine has dropped out..Bugger
lets go down the list again

Widdecombe - too shrill
Peston - too indiscreet
Flint - Too stupid
Cable - Too busy
Nick Ferrari - too ill
Littlejohn - Too expensive
Hundal - too silly
Teather - too boring

So its just Iain Dale or Derek Drapper?
................

I'll give Dale a call...If he says no I've got the bloke who used to the Halifax adverts..

Tractorman999 said...

Hopefully by next Xmas there will be a glut of Ex Labour MP's keen to bag a free lunch

I Squiggle said...

A “Public Affairs consultancy”? Name and shame Iain, name and shame..

Span Ows said...

Well it all depends if (a) you need the money and (b) you want to give the talk.

It is an "only" an evening of your time that will be with - presumably - good food and good company. If you want to do it then do it as no doubt they'll be spin-offs (if you're any good!)

Kate j Norden said...

So what was it, that they imagined would encourage the potential speaker? p.s. Do you charge double for weddings?

Roger Thornhill said...

Where there is muck, there is brass neck.

Glad you put the parasites into touch. Fair exchange is no robbery.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Keep pressing for the money.

You don't need the food.

trevorsden said...

' Old boiler scrappage '- is this Browns way of getting rid of the Harridian?

trevorsden said...

PS

If Brown and Darling have been taking advice from the stark bonkers economist as seen on Jeff Randall/SKY just now, then no wonder we are in a mess. She was crass.

Richard said...

Times are hard and I, too, will talk for food. Are they offering free booze as well?

Accept the gig then, ten minutes before kick off, tell them you've got swine flu and you're sending in a substitute.

I'll make you proud and I'll enhance your reputation for professionalism, especially after I've drained the second bottle.

Charlotte Corday said...

Free lunch? Are you still on your sponsored diet?

Katey said...

True you don't need the food, follow the money.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think you should tell them to hiss off.

The Lakelander said...

Iain,

I hear that Gordon is looking for some speakers for his "leaving do" in May 2010.

If you're not available, I certainly am.

BrokenHeart said...

I'll make you proud and I'll enhance your reputation for professionalism, especially after I've drained the second bottle.

DaveA said...

"I never charge charities, Tory Party Events..."

So when I heard you speak at the Leyton and Wanstead Conservaive Party you did it for free? I also noticed you went home and added a blog post that night too. I am impressed.


Without sounding sychopantic, Iain's speech was witty and erudite and I sniggered at the Labour minister enecdote, its a shame I can't repeat it.

I hope the Tory party are grateful.

jailhouselawyer said...

So, you say you are a rent boy? Don't tell Mark Oaten.

I like the plug for your agent, nice touch.

I'm free, sometimes, plus expenses. Not the snout in the trough sort.

Anyway, I thought you didn't drink alcohol and are on a diet. Don't they read your blog?

Jason O'Mahony said...

You're damn right. It's a pet peeve of mine. I was recently doing some voluntary work for a political organisation, and rang the person who asked me to do the work at the weekend to see about meeting, as I have a non-political day job. They told me that they don't do political stuff at the weekend as they were too tired! This from a fulltime paid political operative who expected me to do stuff for free, in my spare time! My rule of thumb is that I volunteer my skills for free if everyone is doing so, but if people are making money, then I want my cut.

Peter said...

I agree with you. Why provide something for free to an entity that charges others for your experience.
BTW why do you have a parliamentary pass? Are you not somewhat compromised by having one?

Iain Dale said...

Why would I be compromised by having a pass? I do research and speechwriting work for an MP.

The King of Wrong said...

Absolutely right that if you can get paid for speaking, and it's a commercial event, that they should pay.

I'd speak for food (and wine) but mostly 'cuz I need the practice. Sadly, that's why I don't get such invites.

My experience of formal xmas meals is that after two in the same week it's impossible to get out of bed the day after due to high blood pressure and cholesterol, so there's clearly a finite bound on speaker availability. Supply and demand...

Iain Dale said...

DaveA, 3.01. No I didn't charge for that event. I also don't charge expenses. I regard it all as "doing my bit". I dont have a lot of time to do canvassing or leafletting, so I look at this as at least contributing something. Glad you enjoyed the speech - I have to say that was one of the best events I have been to in recent months.

Stephen said...

I was once advised by one of (the then) Mrs Thatcher's ex -staff never to do anything for free, including for the party. Such things were "for mugs."

The chutzpah of these "intelligence" firms is breathtaking considering how useless most of them are.

I'd have perhaps alluded to the possible damage to their reputation of such practices in the letter.

Paddy Briggs said...

You should have been offered a fee. Simple as that.

Malcolm Clarke said...

Very cheeky of them to try and nab you for free. PR companies NEVER charge mates rates.