Is it right to pillory PR firm Brown Lloyd James for its Colonel Gaddafi connection?

The world (or at least the British part of it) seems to have woken up to the fact that Libya dictator Colonel Gaddafi remains a nasty piece of work despite its strenuous efforts to pretend he wasn’t following his generous decision to renounce ‘weapons of mass destruction’ a few years ago and become mates with Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and BP.

One of the minor beneficiaries of this change of heart (or possibly wallet) was UK PR firm Brown Lloyd James which seems to have picked up a few juicy contracts to promote the colonel, his son Saif, the family’s connections with the London School of Economics (over which principal Sir Howard Davies has resigned) and his brief status as a global good egg.

BLJ is an interesting company: Peter Brown is a former music industry impresario who had a connection with The Beatles and then Robert Stigwood, Nick Lloyd (pictured) is a former editor of the Daily Express, married to former Sunday Mirror editor and sometime Ascot fashion observer on the BBC Eve Pollard, while Howell James was former UK prime minister John Major’s press secretary and now seems to have departed BLJ to return to government or the lobbying business that surrounds it.

And the company certainly seems to see the Middle East as a productive area as its website is offered in both English and Arabic.

So should they have become so closely involved with the tyrannical Gaddafi?

Obviously not but governments did, as did characters like Lord Mandelson and indeed Prince Andrew who are always attracted to people with lots of money who are desperate to curry influence in what they see as influential Western quarters. And there are always people and companies who will take their money from corrupt regimes, however many opponents they have murdered or otherwise ‘disappeared.’

So Brown Lloyd James is no worse that the others.

But that doesn’t make it good.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


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    “No worse than the others?” Excuse me? It’s these multi-billion dollar “PR” firms who ALLOW monsters like Gaddafi to flourish, to fly under the radar of public scrutiny by whitewashing them throught massive disinformation campaigns. They deserve much worse than to be “pilloried.” Excusing themselves as “just doing our job” makes them equal to the Nazis at Nuremberg whose lame excuse was the same. Why does no one seem to remember that? Please see for extensive documentation of the ATROCITIES committed and supported by these morally bankrupt firms.

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    Do you know if they still represent the Gaddafi family?