Occident Prone

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Posts Tagged ‘John Halden’

Lobbyist is a dirty word

Posted by occidentprone on June 4, 2008

Alan Carpenter’s decision to cut John Halden off from handling Karen Brown’s election campaign is all about perception.

Halden used to be an MP and now he is a lobbyist. Brown used to be a journalist, then a lobbyist and is now a would-be MP. Carpenter used to be a journalist, then an MP, then Premier facing the unloseable election and now it’s all falling apart at the seams.

Lobbyist is a dirty word around here. The job has long been seen as a mix of politics, commerce, spin and the occult conducted in the netherworld ‘twixt dark and light, public and private, parliament and Perugino’s. It is done most effectively when lobbyists move as shadows but as soon as daylight is shone on their manoeuvres they lose a little of their power.

For Brown, who is an intelligent, honourable and ethical woman who has happened to dabble in all the dark arts – newspapers, lobbying and now politics – it’s not enough to do the right thing. She has to be perceived to be doing the right thing and keep well clear of Halden. He has admitted to receiving leaks from Cabinet – well who hasn’t these days – and he could well taint Brown’s campaign, which would be a shame because she is a quality candidate.

Perception makes all the difference. It’s like the nuance between sexually harassing staff and just making an off-colour joke. But that’s another story.


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