Was Sir William Utting, member of the Neill Committee on Standards
in Public Life, playing devil’s advocate when last week he asked whether
lobbyists were ’wicked’ people?
When questioning Michael Watson, a former director of lobbying outfit PS
Communications Consultant and now a member of the Scottish Parliament,
Utting asked: ’Are you earwigged by fanatics offering gifts and
hospitality ... do you draw a distinction between profitable concerns
and charities ... are the commercial lobbyists wicked people (as
opposed) to those who work for the good of humanity?’
As president of the National Institute for Social Work and a
distinguished campaigner on social issues, including the protection of
children and mental health, Utting’s sympathies clearly lie with those
who, like himself, have worked for the good of humanity.
Perhaps his question was a little tongue in cheek. But Utting’s remarks
show lobbyists may need to do a little PR for themselves if his views
are at all representative of the rest of the Neill Committee.