Saturday, March 24, 2007

Golden Arrow Public Affairs: Instalment 6

Before I go on, let's recap the story so far...

Last Sunday the Sunday Times exposed the relationship between lobbying firm Golden Arrow and two Labour Ministers. See HERE and HERE. The next day I wrote about how Golden Arrow goes about attracting clients HERE. A PIECE followed on Ivan Henderson, the former Labour MP for Harwich, who fronts their lobbying efforts and had a Parliamentary pass which gave him the run of the Commons. I then showed how Golden Arrow deploys its 'pet' Minister Gerry Sutcliffe to impress their clients HERE and then WROTE about Lord Hanningfield's PQ on their activities. The spotlight then fell on Golden Arrow's former Transport Minister consultant David Jamieson HERE.

Today, let's look at the Golden Arrow team which services its non declared clients...

ANDREW SHARP is Golden Arrow's MD. He's a former Labour Party regional organiser and
when he worked for the Labour Party at HQ he was responsible for doing all the work on the post Nolan bill on political contributions and specifically was responsible for drafting the clauses which required PLC's to have approval from their shareholders to give political contributions of 5k and above. This will have come in useful when his client National Express made financial contributions to the Labour Party.

IAN WOODRCROFT is a research executive who used to work for .... oh, what's this? Tony Wright MP, the very same Labour MP who gave Golden Arrow's Ivan Henderson his parliamentary researcher's pass.

ANDREW PAKES is described on the Golden Arrow website as a is a specialist in political messaging and campaign management. He is a Southwark councillor and a former NUS President.

So with David Jamieson and Ivan Henderson this is the entire Golden Arrow team. Their contacts in the Labour Party are clearly excellent, and that's how they win their business - entirely based on who they know, rather what they know. Their clients are dazzled by their address book rather than their skills as strategic consultants - or should I say those clients who are too stupid to read between the lines.

So who are their clients? As they do not belong to the professional organisation for public affairs consultants, the APPC, they are not required to reveal their client list. So far, I have been able to ascertain that the following companies and organisations are clients of Golden Arrow...

Port of Felixstowe
Hutchison Whampoa
National Express
Passenger Transport Executive Group
Nexus PTE
Warwickshire County Council

I know that Golden Arrow are closely monitoring what I write on this site about them. So come on chaps. Let us know your client list. Isn't it the ethical thing to do? Your silence on this matter speaks volumes. And if you won't let us know, perhaps my blog readers will help compile the list.


Anonymous said...

Andrew Pakes is also the Labour candidate for Milton Keynes North.
I remember having a heated late-night argument with him just before the 1997 election, when he insisted that a Labour Government would never introduce university tuition fees.

Anonymous said...

Some consolation in the client list; GNER have been booted off the East Coast Main Line franchise.

Bit less then stellar advice, then.

Anonymous said...

CROOKS! Crooked crooks from crooked land, which is just off the coast of Crookitania.

Anonymous said...

Iain, sorry to be thick here, but why would ministers be associating with a company which wasn't part of the APPC ?

More to the point, why would a company wanting to deal with ministers not be willing to be part of the APPC professional society ?

Surely it couldn't have been their AIM to have a situation where they didn't need to disclose their client list ? No, probably just an 'unintended consequence'...

Anonymous said...

Iain, Good post - I have started to get the thread of this somewhat convoluted plot now.

However I am still unclear as to Tony Wright. There appear to be TWO Tony Wright's that have been MP's [they may well not both be there now].

Is this DR Tony Wright, MP for Cannock Chase ? I would be surprised if it was, because he seems a good sort - too good to be getting mixed up with this crowd..

Chris Paul said...

What a non story, still. A franchise with five sequels? One more and it'll be a veritable Harry Potter of a series.

Please could you blog about some ex-Tory MPs, researchers, CF activists and the like who also run lobbying firms and have address books.

Missing from the first Times piece was any word of the CASH as in "cash for access" or any market appraisal on other outfits or the access and friendliness shown by the MPs to other lobbyists, professional or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I think i recall seeing you on the telly saying 'If I wanted to be a journalist, I'd be a journalist'.

Er...six posts on this topic and it's still as clear as mud.

I think with yourself and Guido's successes on Cash for Honours etc you appear to think you are the new Woodward and Bernstein - stick to the snippets of gossip and your eloquent posts of your own opinions.

Because one thing these recent posts prove is that you ain't an investigative journalist!

Anonymous said...

Iain - please bear in mind, as you pursue this, that with any 'cash for access' allegation, what you need to prove is not that a company paid a lobbyist and then met a minister, but that the same company would not have seen the minister had it not paid the lobbyist. That's much harder to prove, and so far you've come nowhere near.

The hypothesis you're trying to prove can be falsified instantly with - say - evidence that rival companies have met the minister without going through the lobbyist. So tell us - have rival companies been denied such access? If they have not, you're just wasting your time.


Anonymous said...

complete waste of time Iain. by listing the employees of GA you have failed to prove that they do not have political expertise.

Iain, we all know that most lobbyists have political affiliations. it isnt against the APPC code or the law.

The only scandal that the ST hinted at with GA was cash for access, and you have so fair failed to prove this happened.

who seiriously expects public affairs professionals not to have a background in politics. and if they didnt, who the hell would hire them for strategic political advice. a PA consultant has to know politics inside out. the only was to know something is to have practical experience.

you really havent got a case here Iain, and you're making a bit of a fool of yourself.

frankie said...

so iain did you go to waterfront the lobby co. and ask them to donate to the campaign david davis was setting up to try and become conservative leader?

Iain Dale said...

LOL. And the funny thing is, you think I don't know who you are...

And for the convenience of everyone else, the answer is no