THE EMPERORS’ NEW CLOTHES
Over the last few months we have read with increasing frequency posts and publications by the Secretariat to the APPG, the Advisory Board to the Secretariat (SAB APPG) and by the members to the Secretariat Advisory Board. Interestingly we have neither heard nor read anything by the actual All Party Parliamentary Group on CBD Products (APPG).
In recent weeks we have seen that various industry publications have “picked up” on the above and re-published it in the same vein. Unfortunately, when they have done so they have inadvertently published entirely inaccurate assertions and claims – that is what happens when organisations misrepresent what they are: people who take at face value that which they are told are entirely misled as a result.
- All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal groups of Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords with a common interest in particular issues;
- there is an APPG for CBD Products, on which sit 8 Members of the combined Houses;
- the APPG has a Secretariat, which is an administrative and advisory position;
- Tenacious Labs is a commercial market participant who has, according to the Register of Members’ Interests, contributed between £25,501 and £27,000 to the benefit of the Members of the APPG in return for its appointment*;
- The Secretariat (i.e. Tenacious Labs) has formed an Advisory Board (the Secretariat Advisory Board) which consists of other market participants from whom it is said that it takes soundings (although as we reported earlier today, there have recently been some resignations from that Board following what is said by them to be dictatorial and totalitarian conduct); and,
- The SAB produced a report which, we presume, has been provided to the actual APPG.
* It is unclear from the Register whether there was a payment of between £25,501 and £27,000 made in cash to the benefit of the APPG and its parliamentary members, or whether it was a commitment for the provision of administrative services to that value for the benefit of those parliamentary members.
The opening sentence of the article, “A parliamentary group in the UK has recommended the government abandon the current system for approving CBD products…” is, as we understand it, inaccurate and that at the present stage the actual APPG has not adopted the recommendations of the report prepared by the Secretariat Advisory Board. We entirely understand why the author would have been led into the misunderstanding that they have, because we repeatedly read posts/publications by various trade entities which continually misrepresent their place within the industry.
In this context, we suggest that there are misrepresentations (both overt, implied and through omission) made by both the Secretariat Advisory Board and the Secretariat about what they actually are, passing themselves off as the actual APPG (i.e. the Members of both Houses) when in fact, they are nothing more than a lobbying group on behalf of those members whom they represent.
We understand from other sources that the conduct of the Secretariat has been questioned by a number of members of the SAB and that only yesterday a longstanding member of the SAB resigned because of what they identified as the pursuit of individual agenda by the top of the “organisation”, their dictatorial nature and their conduct in going behind democratically documents and positions agreed by the members of the Board.
We have seen a succession of people installing themselves as the head of entities which proclaim themselves as “the one true voice of the industry”. In our view, the sooner that lobbying groups, however well-intentioned they may be (and irrespective of whether they call themselves an Association, a Trade Body, a Secretariat or a Secretariat Advisory Board), stop seeking to pass themselves off as more than they are or proclaim themselves as “the one true voice of the industry”, the better off we will all be.
Remember what we always say: Be Careful Who You Listen To.