Back to work today, and the Christmas and New Year break is already fading into memory. Like many people I took the opportunity, amongst the turkey and the tinsel, to look back at 2015, and look ahead to the Year of the Monkey. That brought into focus for me a number of issues facing the communications sector.
For those firms which misstep, fallout can be very damaging, both for the financial bottom-line and reputationally. However, for those which are pro-active and invest in their capability, the prizes -- both in terms of mitigating risk and seizing opportunity -- are potentially ever more significant.
Yesterday, the Government announced the fruits of three years of hard labour - its Transparency of Lobbying Bill. To say that it was received with rapturous applause would be a downright lie. It was received instead with a significant degree of disappointment from a surprisingly wide range of people and organisations. For those to whom lobbying is not an obsession (i.e. almost everybody), let me summarise the myths and the reality.
The Queen's speech was yet another wasted opportunity for the Government to make up its mind on a statutory register of lobbyists. For the past three years, this Government has told us that a register is both essential and imminent. And for the past three years, it has failed to take any of the many opportunities open to it to introduce such a register.
The Fox affair yet again demonstrates the media's inability to ascertain what is, and what is not, a 'lobbying scandal'. It also demonstrates a peculiar and irritating habit of putting the lobbying industry in the frame rather than seeing when it is the lobbied - not the lobbyists - that need to pull their socks up.
Cameron needs to take charge and communicate a concrete action plan to stop the rioting. He was effective outside Downing Street earlier and is good in these situations. But if he does not come up with a plan, and anger grows at the delay in a co-ordinated Government response, then this will be a turning point in his Premiership.