(Website: Industry and Parliamentary Trust)
“The Industry and Parliamentary Trust is an independent, non-lobbying, non-partisan charity that provides a trusted platform of engagement between Parliament and UK business.”
The largest lobby group in parliament, the Industry and Parliamentary Trust (IPT) is a tool to enable representatives of the corporate world to gain access to politicians in order to direct the latter’s policy.
The IPT operates a two-pronged strategy:
- Speeches, meetings and business visits whereat corporate representatives instruct parliamentarians on aims, objectives and changes to the law
- Advice for IPT’s corporate clients on how to manipulate the cogs of parliament
Events and training
IPT’s events and intent are presented spuriously as quasi-educational. It describes its role as creating “an environment that supports trusted, open and two-way dialogue between Parliament and UK business. IPT platforms engage, educate and inform, create lasting relationships and facilitate the exchange of ideas.”
However, the bullet points of its marketing hype (in About IPT) reveal its true intent and, simultaneously, its deceptive presentation.
“IPT equips parliamentarians from all parties with a greater understanding of commerce and industry through non-partisan platforms.”
How is the equipping “non-partisan” if it is presented only by representatives of the corporate world? The next IPT event, Strengthening UK Road & Rail Infrastructure, will feature a speaker from made-up public transport “operator” Abellio Group; there will be no representatives of rail unions or of passenger lobby groups and there will be no speaker supportive of unprivatisation of public transport. The premise of this event is steeped in political bias that is riven with imposed ignorance of alternatives to exploitation of tax-payers, passengers and workers.
Another upcoming event, Taking Off– Supporting a Competitive UK Airline Sector, will be presented by the CEO of an airline, Virgin Atlantic. The speech will “consider the pressures faced by airlines and how the UK Government can encourage competitive markets and explore how the [government’s] aviation strategy can boost [international] competitiveness.” That is, the speaker will tell the MPs what to do (tax breaks, removal of workers’ rights, etc.) to ensure that the airline can maximise its profits.
“IPT enables businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to develop knowledge of parliamentary and legislative processes.”
Of course it does. The corporate world is always keen to manipulate changes to the law and set the tone of parliamentary debate. A thorough knowledge of the processes of parliament is useful for a manipulator as are methods of dealing with parliamentary investigation. IPT provides Select Committee Training that pretends to be aimed at “public servants, academics and those from the voluntary and private sectors who are interested in this particular aspect of the parliamentary process” as a guide on how to be helpful at select committee hearings, but the training is really for business representatives to help them obfuscate, misdirect and evade investigation at the hearings.
“IPT enriches policy debates by deepening the dialogue between Parliament and industry.”
IPT’s method is to severely restrict debate not “deepen” it. IPT seeks to constrict the allowed premises and parameters of debate by forcing particular political perspectives on participants as uncontestable givens.
The most insidious facet of IPT is its fellowship scheme. Corporate donors of IPT pay for politicians to be placed with businesses to more easily facilitate the instruction of the politicians on the right policy perspectives to take to help the corporate world.
IPT condemns itself with its description of the fellowships.
“Through our Fellowship programmes, host organisations have an opportunity to engage with parliamentarians in a constructive non-lobbying framework, and to learn about the political process from those who are at the heart of it.”
In other words, politicians get indoctrinated in whatever political stance suits the corporate world and the latter gains useful knowledge of tactics to use to direct the “political process.”
A couple of examples of fellowships.
1. MBDA, a missile manufacturer made up of Airbus, Leonardo and BAE Systems, hosted Tory MP Mike Wood in November 2018.
According to IPT, “Wood’s Fellowship focusses on learning about the challenges that manufacturing businesses face relating to skills, supply chains and exports within the aerospace and automotive sectors.” But, arms manufacturers’ income comes solely from tax payers and politicians are the enablers of that flow of income; Wood is Parliamentary Private Secretary for Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade & President of the Board of Trade.
“Learning how large businesses in the UK deal with their trade arrangements in the UK and overseas provided Mike with invaluable insight in his role as PPS to Liam Fox.” By “invaluable insight” IPT meant “clear instructions.” A conglomerate of arms manufacturers hosted a PPS to a minister in an act of sustained lobbying.
Wood’s fellowship is ongoing. “He looks forward to learning more at MBDA’s Bolton site in the new year.”
2. In March 2018 two MPs, Bill Esterson and Faisal Rashid, had a inculcated top-up to their support for nuclear power on a visit to Sellafield, formerly Windscale.
According to IPT, “the visit strengthened Esterson’s understanding of the role of the nuclear industry in both the Industrial Strategy and as a British export” and “Rashid learned about how the organisation incorporates its workforce into its long-term vision.” It was nice of IPT to put PR words into the mouths of the MPs.
Sellafield, formerly Windscale, has a history of technical issues regarding safety but IPT was keen to gloss over that: “The visit involved a tour of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, that is due to complete its reprocessing operations in November this year, and one of the site’s major legacy facilities – the Pile Fuel Storage Pond – a site that is leading the way in hazard and risk reduction.”
IPT’s list of supporting organisations – the businesses with whom IPT arranges contact with MPs – includes several made-up companies that rake in free tax-payers’ money while pretending to run a public service: Thames Water, Serco, Severn Trent Water, RWE Npower, First Utility, Capita, BT, Anglian Water, some key players in the arms industry: BAE Systems, Boeing, Leonardo, MBDA, Raytheon UK, fracking fools Cuadrilla, money launderers HSBC and international oil thieves ExxonMobil. It is not an impressive list of the best of British business.
Tail wagging the rat
The fellowships with the supporting organisations are entirely for the benefit of the businesses. The visits and placements are not intended, and are not used, as opportunities for elected members of parliament to challenge the hosts about their treatment of employees, the quality of their products, their adherence to environmental law, their tax payments (or avoidance of) or their value for money if public services. The accounts are not scrutinised and difficult questions are not asked.
The MPs attend their fellowships with the intent of being impotent and are willing recipients of marketing and PR rhetoric. They behave exactly the opposite of how elected representatives should behave. Such behaviour is ingrained within the operating methodology of the majority of MPs; they perceive the corporate world as immutable and beyond interference. It is the psyche of weak government. The IPT encourages and benefits from this weakness.
“The IPT is embedded into Parliament and provides a safe space for parliamentarians to engage with industry in an organised, constructive and educational environment.”
Translation: The IPT is a an infestation of corporate lobbying in parliament and is a gross intrusion into democracy.
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks/lobby groups
- Centre for Policy Studies
- Policy Network
- Royal United Services Institute
- Legatum Institute
- Human Security Centre
- Adam Smith Institute
- Countryside Alliance
- Bruges Group
- Centre for Social Justice
- Tax-Payers’ Alliance
- Progress Online
- Henry Jackson Society
- Freedom Association
- Policy Exchange
- Migration Watch
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Institute For Free Trade
- The Bow Group