Expenses scandal source named

24 Jun

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.

3 Responses to “Expenses scandal source named”

  1. Henry L Gewanter 25/06/2009 at 8:51 pm #

    Dear Richard,
    Good questions. Although it IS extremely unusual, it’s not unheard of for PR professionals to act ‘Pro Bono’ – for the public good. Which is what I did. I didn’t have a paying sponsor – or any sponsor, for that matter. Which is why, as a professional who, like you, believes in transparency and who’s proud to have founded an ethical PR firm in the City of London over 10 years ago, I haven’t revealed the identity of a sponsor: there just isn’t one.
    I suppose I represented the whistleblowers, so they’re my ‘client’. But I generally invoice Pro Bono clients for a token £1 (plus, naturally, VAT where applicable), which I haven’t done in this case, so not sure if they technically qualify. My real client was the people of Great Britain, who, I believed, deserved to know the truth which the government has spent so long suppressing.
    The reason I did it was the same reason which motivated the other whistleblowers involved: I believe in honesty, transparency and accountability – so knew I’d have to stand up and be counted when they asked for my help.
    Henry L Gewanter
    Managing Director
    Positive Profile Limited
    Tel: +44-(0)20-7489-2028
    Fax: +44-(0)20-7427-0777

  2. Richard Bailey 26/06/2009 at 10:33 am #

    Thank you for clarifying that, Henry. I applaud your openness. This post ties in well with the previous one about NightJack and anonymous blogging.
    I can accept that there’s a place for anonymity and that whistleblowers have a role to play in a free society – but have a preference for openness and transparency.

  3. term papers 03/07/2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!

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