Sir Tim Bell was at his most uncompromising last week when he spoke at
the annual lunch of the IPR’s Government Affairs group.
A packed hall, including Labour MP Tom Cox, who sponsored the event,
heard Bell hold forth on the subject of politics and lobbying after
Nolan. ‘It was like a party political broadcast on behalf of the
Conservative party,’ says one in-house public affairs man. ‘Basically
the message was, we’ve never had it so good.’
After a couple of jokes, including Denis Thatcher’s advice on how to
stay awake during speeches - stick your finger on the roof of your
mouth, that way you either wake up or you’re violently sick - Bell
warmed to his theme.
He dismissed the noisy minority - Labour and the media - which had
created ‘dragons’ to scare people and predicted a Conservative victory
at the next election. Europe would be to the 1997 campaign what tax was
in 1992 - Labour’s Achilles heel.
‘It was certainly forthright,’ says group chairman Quentin Rappaport.