What does the Parliamentary candidacy of the BPI's main spokesperson tell us about the links between the BPI (the four major record labels) and the Labour party?
The BPI's main spokesperson and chief lobbyist Richard Mollett is to stand for Parliament at the May UK election. He is standing as a Labour candidate for South-west Surrey, which includes the towns of Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere.
Mollett is unlikely to be elected. In fact, Mollett stands a greater chance of scaling the north face of the Eiger than he does of winning leafy Farnham under a Labour banner. But his candidacy tell us more about the close ties betweenthe organisation he lobbies for - the BPI - and the Labour party. The BPI, for which Mollett is head of corporate communications, has lobbied extensively for the Digital Economy Bill, and wrote at least one amendment. The BPI is currently trying to get the bill through Parliament without a debate, before the election. It is lobbying for the bill to either be voted through by lazy and uncaring MPs, or that in the so-called ‘wash-up' before the election, a deal will be done which ensures it goes through. A leaked email recently exposed the BPI's attitude (see also my previous article on the BPI email).
The Digital Economy Bill will benefit the BPI's members - the four major recorded music labels - and a few select entertainment industry companies. It threatens to censor much of the UK Internet.
Mollett's candidacy tells us that the BPI have an insider in the Labour Party, who is potentially able to get contacts with Ministers and MPs that are unavailable to others. It begs the question how he could operate as a credible political candidate, with this background. Especially in light of the recent revelations about lobbying firms and Cabinet Ministers and the calls around the country for Parliament to be cleaned up.
The real battle in South-west Surrey will be between the Conservtives and the Liberal Democrats, who split the majority vote last time around.
Mollett will be standing against the Conservative shadow Culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt .
The LibDems voted at their recent Spring conference for a policy to oppose the Digital Economy Bill, passing an emergency motion to support the open Internet. Mollett's candidacy could make for a lively campaign in south-west Surrey, once its electorate wake up to who their candidates really are.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) BPI lobbyist Mollett tries for parliament http://www.iptegrity.com 22 March 2010
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