Speak to me and not at me – the real secret of success for political lobbyists

Many companies do it, at least when they are selling products and services.
NGOs do it when they are fundraising.
Political communication living in the past?
When it comes to political communication most companies and NGOs seem unable to do it. Greenpeace is an exception. Their successful campaigns have all the hallmarks of someone who knows all about Social Network Analysis and Value Communication.
Too often corporate and NGO political communication comes down to a deep belief in religious conversion by words alone. A lot of people think that if you send a letter and a position paper the politician, adviser,or official  that they will realise the errors of their way, and accept the new gospel presented to them.I am sure it happens – it is just that even at this time of year, my belief in religious epiphanies is low.
The improbabilities of this happening seems to be lost on too many.  The smart will at least anticipate and reflect the concerns of their intended audience in their outreach.
 I am only suggesting this as I have tried this out for clients. I informed them what we were going to do.  It works.
The smart, or those with a lot of political challenges,  turn to it.
Google are facing a lot of political challenges in Europe. They are running a series of advertisements on paper and online. They are running a series in the Economist that is very smart.
Speak to Prospectors
Speak to Settlers
Speak to Pioneers
Specific policy communities
Android  are speaking to very specific groups in society. They are using  the very  words, images and emotions that speak personally to these audiences.
I am sure there will be an ad that speaks directly to Danish Liberal women.

Fly on the wall at Brexit talks

There are 3 sources I look to for real news on Brexit:

Jennifer Rankin@  Guardian, Peter Ludlow @ Eurocomment, and the  FT.

 Mr Ludlow has produced another pre-summit Briefing gem.

Some interesting observations for me are:
  • The UK-EU trade agreement will be ready the mid 2020s at the earliest.
  • By which time, many of those currently involved in the process in London and in EU 27 will be politically, if not physically, long since dead.
  • Germany and France are united and take a hawkish position.
  • The UK has to comply with the EU Trade Policy for the 2 year transition (so no new trade deals for 2 years)
  • Phase 2 can only start when the UK provides clear guidance on the post transition relationship.
  • Negotiations in the second phase can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible.

Let’s hope that David Davis starts to negotiate in good faith and read his papers.


Forces of open law making strike again in the EU


Open Law Making Wins Again

Yesterday evening, 1st Vice-President Frans Timmermans, struck another blow for open law making.

Until today,  the process for adopting delegated acts was a secretive affair. Today, you can track the development, adoption and scrutiny of delegated acts.

You can find out how to here.


This is important because most legislation in the EU – estimates argue between 97% to 99% – is secondary legislation. The important secondary legislation is often delegated acts.

For members of the public the whole process has been more or less secret. I think that the people should be able to monitor their governments law making. These changes make it easier for the people to see what is being done in their name

Today’s  system is a vast improvement. It gives a good summary of the status of where a piece of delegated legislation is. You can track the progress from the comfort of your own armchair.

The spirit  of Better Law Making has not yet filtered down to all Commission Departments. The idea of making up legal proposals on a whim, whatever or despite the evidence, still has many adherents within the Commission and in  too many governments.  Better Regulation, championed by Commissioner Timmermans, forces his colleagues to meet some basic standards  of good law making before coming up with new laws. I know many officials do not like it.

I think a lot of lobbyists won’t like it. Anything that makes the system less complex is bad for billable hours.

The EU is not the place to have policy and political decision making by way of political derogation. Following the Better Regulation Guidelines and Toolbox for bother ordinary and secondary law making is one of the greatest incentives Europe has to offer business doing business here.

I think that the positive lasting legacy of the Juncker Commission will be the step by step opening up of law making to public scrutiny and improved and better law making.


Next Steps?

There are  some improvements that could be made.

First, they could hyperlink to the actual text being considered.

Second, they could integrate creaking online system for Implementing Acts and measures adopted under Regulatory Procedure into this easier to use system.

Third, they could list the civil servants who attend the Committee. They are meeting as law makers.  It is usual for law makers to be recognised when they vote. The meetings could be online.

All these changes could be made quickly.


Dank U


Commissioner Timmermans and his team have worked around the clock to deliver on the  13 April 2016 Better Law-Making Interinstutional Agreement*. The system works.

* para 29: The three Institutions commit to set up, at the latest by the end of 2017 and in close cooperation, a joint functional register of delegated acts, providing information in a well-structured and user-friendly way, in order to enhance transparency, facilitate planning and enable traceability of all the different stages in the lifecycle of a delegated act.