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Corrupt politics

(68 Posts)
varian Mon 29-Jun-20 11:36:53

The Robert Jenrick and Richard Desmond scandal shows the corruption at the heart of British politics

Our country has a political system which operates around private dinners, party donations, lobbyists, favours and questionable relationships

At the root of this problem lies a political system that sanctions corruption. Not the overt plundering seen in some places with politicians taking vast backhanders for deals and contracts – although the expenses scandal showed Westminster was engaged in lesser but similarly grasping practices. Instead it is the constant drip-drip of petty corruption.

inews.co.uk/opinion/robert-jenrick-richard-desmond-planning-application-scandal-corruption-458029

varian Mon 29-Jun-20 13:24:54

Ian Birrell concludes:-

"These scandals flare up repeatedly. Sometimes they lead to resignation, but never to real reform.

Yet corruption, whether personal or systemic, is a cancer that eats away at the body politic. It destroys public faith. It fosters a system of patronage that benefits the elite and disempowers those lacking cash or the right connections. It fuels state capture and rent-seeking by powerful corporate interests while disadvantaging challengers.

It is wrong on moral, economic, political and social grounds. So when will Britain finally accept that even our nation is not immune to this particular disease and demand the disinfection of a tainted political system?"

Could there ever be a way of funding political parties which was free from the accusation that "he who pays the piper calls the tune"?

varian Tue 30-Jun-20 17:48:10

This is obviously of no concern to GNetters who have lived so long in the UK that they take political corruption for granted - something we can do nothing about????

lemongrove Tue 30-Jun-20 17:54:15

varian

This is obviously of no concern to GNetters who have lived so long in the UK that they take political corruption for granted - something we can do nothing about????

This is the most bonkers post ever on GN.I can think of oh so many countries where political corruption is so rife that we look like mere beginners in those stakes.
Possibly many GNers are a bit fed up with negative assertions about the UK varian and many rants about Brexit.
On the other hand, perhaps they haven’t discovered your thread yet and will come roaring in any second now.
Regardless, I have bumped your thread for you.

varian Tue 30-Jun-20 18:52:07

Thank you lemon.

As you say, there are countries in the world which are certainly more corrupt than ours, but that is no excuse, no comfort to those of us who would like to live in a democratic country free of corruption.

Jabberwok Tue 30-Jun-20 19:12:56

Is any democratic country free from corruption?!!

varian Thu 02-Jul-20 09:55:42

Vladimir Putin wins Russia vote that could let him rule until 2036

www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/02/vladimir-putin-wins-russia-vote-that-could-let-him-rule-until-2036

The fact that people are able to vote is no guarantee of democracy.

Putin wrapped up his own ambitions with numerous other changes, some which would be seen as uncontentious or favourable and prevented the opposition from campaigning against his proposals.

This should make us more concerned than ever that the report into Russian interference in our democracy produced last year has still not been released.

Urmstongran Thu 02-Jul-20 10:04:59

Well I’m glad to be British 🇬🇧 😊

MaizieD Thu 02-Jul-20 10:26:02

I'm not sure that saying 'everyone else does it ' is a particularly useful contribution. My reaction is the same as when my children said 'Everyone else's mother lets them do x,y,z...' Which was 'So what? I do things differently'. I would hope that we would aspire to being proudly incorruptible, rather than 'no worse than anyone else'

Corruption in political life will remain rife until we either cap the total amount of donations a party or MP can receive each year or, prohibit donations to political parties and MPs, altogether and give them state funding. The capping or prohibition should cover gifts 'in kind' as well.

We seem to be sliding down the International Corruption Index. On a scale of 0 - 100 (100 being incorruptible) we are now scored in the 70s, rather than the 80s.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:32:40

Has it ever been any different?

Or is it that, with the internet and social media, people are far more aware than they were years ago?

MaizieD Thu 02-Jul-20 10:42:52

'Years ago', Callistomen, ministers resigned or were sacked when they were caught.

And they weren't reinstated by the next PM, either (Priti Patel, Gavin Williamson anyone?)

So, yes, it has been different.

(Amazed that people who are always banging on about how we should be proud of our country are perfectly relaxed about political corruption)

varian Thu 02-Jul-20 10:47:30

Can you imagine the outcry from the brexiters if the Russians had manipulated a Remain vote? - or the outcry from the rightwingers if the Russians had helped Jeremy Corbin to become PM?

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:50:16

Yes, they did resign but sometimes landed other 'plum' jobs.

Some did devote their lives to charitable works but still continued to live a fairly privileged lifestyle.
A very few were convicted of a crime and imprisoned and one or two bounced back as if nothing had happened.

MaizieD Thu 02-Jul-20 11:00:09

So corruption is absolutely OK and needn't even be sanctioned any more, then, Callistomen?

Daisymae Thu 02-Jul-20 11:07:12

What seems to be different at the moment is that it's so blatant. We have generally had high standards or at least expectations, of people in public life but there's a distinct attitude of 'who cares?' Some of the responses here point to why it is tolerated, so will become ever more embedded.

lemongrove Thu 02-Jul-20 11:12:00

varian

Thank you lemon.

As you say, there are countries in the world which are certainly more corrupt than ours, but that is no excuse, no comfort to those of us who would like to live in a democratic country free of corruption.

What you actually want is Utopia.
Wonderful....but unachievable.

tickingbird Thu 02-Jul-20 11:36:35

It’s not just Westminster. There’s plenty of corruption and backhanders going on at local level. Councillors wield considerable power to get things done, contracts awarded etc. Anywhere that someone has influence/power, no matter how small there is corruption. Sad but true.

trisher Thu 02-Jul-20 11:47:42

A few years ago when I was volunteering for a national charity I went to some party conferences to help lobby MPs. We and others from charities and action groups were outside the venue handing out leaflets and trying to chat to the delegates. Inside were the paid lobbyists. There was also a huge amount of hospitality provided by companies and organisations lobbying. We did manage to chat our way in to an Italian resteraunt which had been taken over by a company and was serving delegates (including some well-known MPs) with a lunch and wine. There were a few speeches and a Q and A session. but it wasn't hard work.
I did wonder how many MPs left the session feeling more sympathetic to the organisation. After all there is no such thing as a free lunch. I think many of us fail to understand how much money is involved in this process now and how it has changed in the last 20 years.

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 15:43:58

MaizieD

So corruption is absolutely OK and needn't even be sanctioned any more, then, Callistomen?

Oh my!

How you twist things MaizieD!
It's a masterclass in sophistry

lemongrove Thu 02-Jul-20 21:33:30

Those are your words MaizieD and not Callistemon’s.

Of course corruption should always be outed where it’s found to be, I can’t think anyone decent would argue with that, but as ticking just commented, it’s part of human nature to try and get away with it. It should be stamped on, but will never be stamped out totally, no matter how harsh the consequences /punishment.It’s naive to think otherwise.
Luckily we are not a country where it’s a way of life.

MaizieD Thu 02-Jul-20 22:31:53

If people don't condemn corruption it seems quite reasonable to assume that they are comfortable with it.

MaizieD Thu 02-Jul-20 22:36:12

Luckily we are not a country where it’s a way of life.

Well, you stay with that comforting thought, lemon.

I pointed out that we are sliding down the corruption index and was e appear to have ministers who are not 'stamped on' it looks to me as if we are going down the road of it becoming 'a way of life'.

Dorsetcupcake61 Thu 02-Jul-20 22:43:22

I think a lot of people have a healthy cynicism when it comes to politics. I do think the pandemic has led to the weaknesses and inadequacies of governments andpoliticians are under an intense spotlight. More people are aware of some of the more obscure cabinet members. Despite my cynicism I think I expected or at least hoped that the Government would be a source of strength in the current crisis. It did at times initially appear that had but it gradually has seen it deteriorate into a pantomime. Individuals have to act responsibly but strong and genuine leadership makes a massive difference. Will it change? Who knows.

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 23:01:17

MaizieD

If people don't condemn corruption it seems quite reasonable to assume that they are comfortable with it.

I think you are very confused

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 23:10:06

varian I agree but I fear it was ever thus.

Sometimes a political scandal, corruption or other offence has ended in a trial and a conviction but more often than not those in public life have always seemed to get away with this type of behaviour.

Some public servants can fail miserably at their job, too, make people's lives a misery by their sheer incompetence but move on to another lucrative position.
How and why?