Beattie Media

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Beattie Media is a PR and lobbying firm headquarterd in London, with offices in Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Falkirk.[1]

It was founded by former journalist Gordon Beattie.

The company grew to be one of the largest independent PR businesses in Scotland and, until a scandal related to the lobbying side of the business in 1999, Beattie Media enjoyed remarkable success in attracting clients from across the Scottish public sector.


Among the services offered to clients by Beattie are:


Beattie says of its 'public affairs' services: 'If you want to get your message across to key decision makers at regional, national and international level - we are the people to speak to. Whether it's a planning application for a new housing development or you are pressing for new environmental legislation, it's important your voice is heard.'[2]

'Blogger relations'

Beattie describes 'blogger relations' as a speciality, of which it says: 'It's an art in its own right and we are always mindful that you pitch to journalists but you alert bloggers. We are in daily contact with influential bloggers in each of our industry sectors and we maintain an extensive blogger database that's updated several times a day.'



Beattie Media launched Public Affairs Europe in April 1998, a joint venture with the commercial lawyers Maclay, Murray and Spens. Jack McConnell (who later became Scottish First Minister), the former general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party was recruited as a director, as was George McKechnie, a former editor of The Herald.

McConnell's links with Beattie Media were later to become central to the Scottish Parliament Standards Committee's investigation of the Lobbygate affair. He was recruited by Beattie Media because of his political connections and prospects:'We appointed Jack McConnell to head up our public affairs consultancy, in the certain knowledge that Jack would get a safe seat from the Labour Party, and in the hope and expectation that he would also get a cabinet position within the new administration. So we knew that Jack was going to leave us. (Observer transcript 1999: 2). Concern centred on the probity of such an overtly political appointment given the history of sleaze at Westminster. Damian Killeen, Director of the Poverty Alliance in Glasgow, wrote to The Herald expressing his fears:

The growth in the number of lobbying companies in Scotland, in advance of the Scottish Parliament, is happening with relatively little critical comment. Some of these companies are staffed by people who recently or currently have occupied prominent political positions. There is little doubt that their access to senior politicians is an important part of these companies' sales pitch. Government in Scotland has, so far, done little to disassociate itself from these developments. What signals does this send out to those who are looking to the new Parliament to provide a level of accessibility and inclusiveness? (Killeen 1998: 16)

National Semiconductor spy scandal

Below is a copy of the communications plan drawn up by PR firm Beattie Media and National Semiconductor and leaked to union activist Jim McCourt on whom the company was spying. This document was scanned into a text file from the original. Every effort has been made to ensure that it is an exact replica. consequently spelling and grammatical mistakes have not been corrected.

The Sunday Herald reported:

STRATHCLYDE police are investigating a dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by the PR firm Beattie Media on behalf of the giant American company, National Semiconductor. It is alleged that National Semiconductor and Beattie Media spied on trade unionists who were investigating a spate of miscarriages, cancers and fertility problems among female staff, and that there was an attempt to sabotage an investigation by BBC Scotland's Frontline programme into the company' health record.
The company targetted Jim McCourt, a Greenock TUC activist, for surveillance. He had set up Phase II (People for Health and Safety in Electronics), the umbrella group representing sick employees.
The US firm hired Beattie Media, the company at the centre of the Lobbygate and West of Scotland Water affairs, to co-ordinate its campaign. A confidential National Semiconductor report shows McCourt was put under surveillance, and that Beattie Media's female staff 'posed' as workers 'to elicit information .directly from Frontline Scotland'.
Beattie Media and another PR consultancy firm are now arguing over which firm should take responsibility for drafting the undercover plan. At the time the document was written in January 1998, Graham Isdale was the Beattie Media director in charge of the contract. He later left the firm and set up his own agency, The Big Partnership, taking the contract with him.
However, the Big Partnership claims the daily running of the contract was handled by Nicola Tennant, who still works for Beattie Media.
McCourt said:.'This is a total violation. I will consider suing National Semiconductor. Private companies can not spy on trade unionists as if they were MI5.'[3]



Beattie Communications does not declare its clients on its website, nor is it signed up to the voluntary transparency registers operated by the lobbying industry.


London office: 4 Great James Street, Holborn, London, WC1N 3DB
Edinburgh office: Conference House, 152 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8EB
Glasgow office:18 Glasgow Road, Uddingston, Glasgow, G71 7AS

Spinwatch Resources


External links


  1. Beattie Group website, accessed March 2009
  2. Public Affairs, Beattie Communications website, accessed August 2015
  3. Neil MackayNational Semiconductor Spies on Union Man US computer firm hired Beattie Media to spy on workers', Sunday Herald August 12, 2001; See Also Neil Mackay Microchip firm spied on union man: National Semiconductor hired PR girls to dupe BBC investigation into health record. By Neil Mackay Home Affairs Editor Sunday Herald August 12, 2001.