Westminster

ONE of the best things about working in PR is the fact that no two days are the same.

With clients in a variety of sectors ranging from construction to education, the team here at Publicity Seekers has a varied workload when it comes to dealing with the people we look after.

This week proved no exception, and I had the pleasure of accompanying one of our clients on a trip to London for a meeting to discuss what could be some exciting news in the steel sector.

The future of UK steel is a hot topic at the moment, with some uncertainty over steelmaking after economic issues across the globe had a knock-on effect back home – not least here in Teesside where generations have proudly worked in the mills for more than 100 years.

Our meeting wasn’t directly linked to the ongoing issues, but as we walked into the vast hall at Westminster it was the main topic of conversation as a MPs from both sides of the House debated the best steps to take to ensure steel has a future.

As I said, being versatile in this job is par for the course so this wasn’t the first time we’ve been required to join a client on a trip through the capital’s corridors of power.

Meetings of this nature take some organising, but the constant stream of emails and phone calls to the offices of MPs are always worthwhile when you can get an audience with the decision-makers on behalf of your client.

There’s always something special about Westminster, it’s almost as if you can feel the history as soon as you walk through the splendid entrance into the main hall.

You can feel the anticipation as you turn the corner past Westminster Abbey and head up towards Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, but as tempting as it was to whip the iPhone out and grab a selfie just like the throng of tourists outside, I quickly remembered I was there to work.
Once you get through security, a lengthy task in itself for obvious reasons, paintings adorn the walls and imposing stone busts of former political greats are dotted about throughout.

A chatty security guard was telling an excited group of tourists how Henry VIII had played tennis in the Great Hall where they stood. Whether that’s true or not might be a job for Google, but if walls could talk then that place would certainly have some tales to tell.

With time to kill prior to our meeting, there was enough time to take in the formality of the debate which raged across the House.

Perched high above the benches in the public gallery, you get a bird’s eye view of proceedings as rows of politicians battle to have their say.

It all looks so familiar, those green seats, the speaker perched at the top trying to keep order, and while we see he same sights on the TV each night, it’s hard not to think back to some of the figures who have graced those benches – no matter which side of the hall your political allegiances lie.

We’ve all seen David Cameron, Tony Blair before him. Think back to when the Iron Lady ruled the roost, rewind back to Churchill.

The place doesn’t look as though it’s changed, there’s obviously been a lick of paint here and there and there are a few plasma TVs dotted around to keep people up to date with the news, but apart from that I’m confident any of our former illustrious leaders from bygone days would still be able to navigate their way around the corridors without the need for a SatNav.

As for our meeting, everything went well. We met the people we wanted to meet, and it was all very positive. PR’s not about cloak and dagger meetings but giving good organisations a voice, helping get great projects off the ground and communicating with our clients’ intended audiences on their behalf. In this instance politicians.

It won’t be long before we’re back in Westminster for another round of meetings, and hopefully there will be good news all round.
Not just for our client, but for the whole of the steel sector in general.