Public Affairs: Soap Box - Peter Bingle, founder, Peter Bingle Consulting

At a time when the eurozone is about to implode, the future of the public affairs industry does not seem that important, but the Government seems determined to push on.

It is, therefore, incumbent on the industry to ensure that any change is for the better.

The argument for self-regulation has been lost because the industry failed to do what it would have advised any client to do. Write a compelling narrative, appoint a professional spokesman and identify the key targets in government and the media.

None of this has happened. We can't even agree on the definition of a lobbyist. 'Hopeless' is not too strong a word to describe the industry's performance.

On the key issue of who is or is not a lobbyist, we need to be very clear.

A lobbyist is somebody who takes their case direct to government with no intermediaries. What most public affairs consultants do is very different, although I accept that there are some exceptions.

We advise our clients on how to speak to and hopefully influence government. There is currently no spokesman for the industry. We need somebody of the calibre of Mark Bolland or Guy Black. Going forward, I want to show it is possible to be best in class and best fun. My new agency will show how this ethos can be delivered in practice. I look forward to the challenge.

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