Monday, 26 November 2007

Corruption in the UK

I’ve just read a report on corruption in the UK. On Wednesday this week (21st November) former French President Chirac was placed under formal investigation for corruption. One often hears British politicians and media commentators saying that “there's remarkably little corruption in this country”. They sneer at countries like France for being corrupt. But the fact that senior politicians can be tried for corruption in other European countries does not mean that they are more corrupt than Britain. Quite the contrary.

On Tuesday 20th November the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International (UK) held its AGM. The Chairman said that there was a growing feeling in international institutions that the reason why there were no corruptions cases in the UK was not because there was no corruption, but because the system is so corrupt that its impossible to prosecute anyone for corruption. He also told us the government had torpedoed the new corruption law TI(UK) had been promoting, This was designed to bring Britain's corruption laws up to international standards. He said that TI was losing faith in the government's promises that it was serious about tackling corruption. None of this was reported in the corporate media.

'41% of the respondents in a 2006 survey of corruption within the UK construction industry said they had been offered a bribe on at least one occasion'.

We have a corrupt honours system, where you can buy a peerage by giving money to some political parties. It is obviously possible to buy influence, e.g. Bernie Ecclestone or the Hindujas. Of the million people visiting Wembley every year, 150,000 are corporate guests. This has a terrible effect on sporting events like Wimbledon, where fans cant get in, but corporate boxes are full of people being entertained.

Incidentally the following four former Chiefs of the Defence Staff have found work in the defence industry. Convenient.
* Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, Non-executive Director, Sciens Capital.
Sciens Capital Management has made investments in companies in defense and security.
* Lord Boyce, Non-executive Director, VT Group plc.
VT Group plc is a leading defence and civil contractor focusing on technical and other related support services, shipbuilding and marine products.
* Lord Inge, Adviser ICX Technologies.
ICx Technologies develops advanced technologies for effective security solutions for homeland and military security.
* General Sir Mike Jackson, Chair of PA Consulting's Defence Advisory Board.

UPDATE: How topical, I just learned that the Labour Party general secretary has resigned over undisclosed donations. How daft of them not to have been very careful after the cash for peerages row which saw the Prime Misinter questioned by police last year. 'Large Labour Party donors are 1,657 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor and 6,969 times more likely to receive a peerage. It is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Labour Party has been selling honours, including places in the House of Lords. An analysis of all donations over £50,000 since 2001 reveals that Honour certainly has its price. We publish below the average amount donated by the recipients of various honours – an “Honours Price List”. Those receiving a Peerage have given £1.07 million on average, and a Knighthood £747,000' Chris Philip. His Government would be 'whiter than white' said Tony Blair in 1997. has more.

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