The PR hand behind the parliamentary expenses story has been named. He's Henry Gewanter and his Positive Profile website proclaims his involvement in 'the story of the century'. So far, so transparent.
But there are still more questions than answers arising from this:
- On whose behalf was he acting? Public relations can be a neutral force; it can even act in the public interest. But it usually acts on behalf of a paying sponsor. Profesional ethics and transparency require that we don't conceal or deny the sponsor's identity.
- Why has his identity emerged now, and why was a PR intermediary necessary in this case?
- How much did the Telegraph pay? It remains a big political story, but payment by the newspaper shapes our understanding of the newspaper's motives in the same way that it shapes our understanding of the PR agenda.