My mother-in-law calls me an agitator (I think she's referring to my professional career), I prefer advocate but it's semantics. Another definition of the job is lobbying. Evil word that conjures images of dark forces at work, meddling in politics and policy where they're not wanted. But on the other hand those same people who bemoan lobbyists, the media's influence in politics and the Unions, also criticise our elected representatives for being career politicians, and therefore no more than inexperienced mouthpieces. And the civil service for being full of well meaning people who don't know what life is like in the real world of job insecurity and diminishing pension pots, although of course the narrative on this latter criticism has obviously had to change given recent current public sector cuts.
But in my mind the reality is individuals, businesses, employee groups, the press, charities, single issue pressure groups and others are all trying to affect an outcome that they think is best for them and their cause. Some groups have more formal mechanisms to do so, such as local and central government elections, others are subject to less transparent tactics. Businesses, after all, do not have a vote. Attempting to determine who is most worthy, charity or business, Union or media group, and who should therefore have preferential access is immediately subjective and a complete minefield that will continue to stimulate much debate. Ultimately though, it is the job of a politician to gather all the advice and evidence presented to him or her on a particular matter and make a judgement, fully aware of the motivations behind all representations, in a fair and transparent manner. Make the wrong call too many times and one's job is literally on the line, at the very least every 4 or 5 years. It is when issues of equity and transparency are called into question that politicians, and their advisors, find themselves tied in knots.
I am not making a judgement on whether or not Jeremy Hunt carried out his quasi judicial role in an appropriate way, we couldn't possibly know yet. However news that individuals with a vested interest were trying to influence the outcome should come as no surprise to anyone. We all do it. Only time will tell whether Hunt will find a way to wriggle free, but unquestionably political opportunists driven by public sentiment will make this a very difficult task indeed.