Thursday, February 16, 2006


If you’re a private Institution or Corporation and you want to influence UK foreign policy for the benefit of your shareholders, you need to pay the right people. These people can then get to work on a two pronged offensive. Firstly they must ensure that elected politicians are on board with your interests. Then they must set about manipulating public opinion to your way of thinking.

See, what happens is this…

Imagine you are say Nestle, BP International or Honda Motor Europe and you need UK foreign policy to serve your interests. The steps are as follows:

1) Contact the "Foreign Policy Centre" (FPC) and request to become a member. This membership scheme is open to senior members of Non-Governmental Organisations as well as the business and foreign policy community. Admittedly, the first class service provided is expensive and members of the FPC will pay large annual fees.

2) Having paid for membership to the FPC you are then able to participate in the "dialogue between policy makers and key stakeholders". The Centre runs a rich and varied events programme with representatives from think tanks, companies and government. You can interact with speakers who include Prime ministers, global corporate leaders, media executives and cultural entrepreneurs from around the world. Access to the FPC will give you access to such lumiaries as Tony Blair (patron) Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson and David Blunkett.

3) Once you have mingled with the various appropriate Governmental officials, made various contacts and hopefully secured their loyalty, the FPC can begin to manipulate the wider community on your behalf. The institute can draw on a number of in-house or freelance orators to spread your word.
You could, for instance be represented by founder of the FPC, Mark Leonard (see pic). Leonard will provides his services by broadly promoting your corporate interests in relevant journals and newspapers. His work is essentially intellectual PR. Leonard writes regularly for the Guardian, Prospect magazine and many more journals and newspapers. He will justify the need for corporate control of public services, and question why "public debate focuses on vilifying corporations rather than exploring how their resources can be harnessed". Leonard will act as a sympathetic mouthpiece for your corporation and summarise your grievances. This is all to your advantage.

4) If the wider world still seems resistant to your interests the FPC will help co-ordinate new media channels. For instance, if your interests are reliant on UK foreign policy in the Arabic world then you can simply have your own news and media provided for you. This outlet is designed to look like conventional news, but is in fact propaganda on your behalf. These stories are designed to be packaged pieces that can be slotted directly into mainstream daily news programmes . However it is important that the background of Governmental and corporate sponsorship behind this "news" remains hidden and your stories are not uncovered as propaganda. As Mark Leonard wrote in 2002 "If a message will engender distrust simply because it is coming from a foreign government then the government should hide that fact as much as possible.".