Thursday, June 23, 2005

Too much pressure

Not only do we let journalists off too lightly, I think it's time a spotlight was turned on pressure groups.

These people live charmed lives. Not only do they have jobs that rescue them from the alienation associated with work in the commercial sector (or the rank-and-file civil service), they also are under no obligation to stand by anything they say.

They are under no obligation to provide a realistic solution to any problem. They are a bit like John Pilger in this respect.

They just have to create a climate in which it is difficult to oppose them. Andrew Puddephat, Liberty's former general secretary, said:

"Sometimes the human rights movement is like my daughter when she was three years old. I tried to offer her tea and she just kept saying no to every option without ever telling me what it was she did want."

(from Rob Newman)

And often, they have a transparent self-interest that explains their views. In some cases, they want regulators to be nicer to them or governments to cave in on personal injury suits. Sometimes, businesses make up crap like this to discourage us from demanding that they do their job properly.

Where politicians are forever haunted by their opinions, pressure groups can invent almost anything they like in the sure knowledge that the Fourth Estate will print it uncritically.

Does anyone run a blog similar to Mailwatch that monitors these charlatans?

Lobbyists had to establish a kind of professional body a few years ago to counter the worst excesses of the industry (there used to be this company called 'Ian Greer Associates'....). If pressure groups decide to set one of these up, can I be allowed to run it? Please?

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