It would be easy to think the world of public affairs is currently dominated by the buzz of the Conservative leadership election. After all, within only a week in Westminster I have picked up on this buzz myself. But it is actually so much more. My week of work experience at WA Communications has taught me that the work that is undertaken is about the weird and wonderful processes and events within a parliament that never rests, even when the world’s attention is on Liz and Rishi.
It would be counter intuitive to say the dominance of the leadership story has no effect on the work of public affairs. Clients want insight; they want to know what Liz or Rishi would think of their company or how policy they may introduce would affect them. This morning, for instance, I was probing through the depths of Twitter to uncover the candidates’ views on the housing support fund. Of course, this is not a centre-piece policy up for debate in the leadership race, but it will nevertheless will be a part of their time in office as Prime Minister and is still of interest to countless businesses across the UK.
I did take the opportunity to indulge in the drama of the leadership race by attending a husting for Liz Truss’ campaign on Tuesday afternoon. At the event, I took the opportunity to ask her about larger issues, such as her tax policy and commitment to pragmatism, and to contribute to the debate around the future of the Conservative Party. This was a big change from the very same morning, when I watched the five-hour second reading of the public procurement bill in the House of Commons, which will have gargantuan implications on how the procurement sector will operate. It just goes to show that whilst column inches are focused on the leadership race, arguably bigger decisions are being made in the corridors of power for some sectors.
So, what I’ve learnt from the week is that although the media is glued to the Twitter accounts of our prospective Prime Ministers, pre-empting who the next Chancellor may be, or even the price of Liz’s earrings – the world of public affairs is not. They are in the background, continuing to fight for companies and push for policy change. And that is the real world of politics.