Waiting in the wings: servants of the public or the corporate world?
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Taking back control – for the wealthy?
“It seems extraordinary that a man with such a past could have been brought back into government, let alone given such a crucial and sensitive role”.
The new international trade secretary, Liam Fox explained his enthusiasm for leaving Europe: “We’ll be able to make our own laws unhindered by anyone else, and our democratic parliament will not be overruled by a European Court.”
Liam Fox: “a corporate sleeper cell implanted in government five years ago”?
George Monbiot reminds us that in 2011 Fox resigned his post as defence secretary in disgrace, after his extracurricular interests were exposed. He had set up an organisation called Atlantic Bridge which formed a partnership with a corporate lobbying group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies. It was struck off by the Charity Commission after allying with people and organisations to lobby for privatisation of public services privatised and releasing corporations from regulation.
He allowed a lobbyist to attend his official meetings, without government clearance, making misleading statements about these meetings, which were later disproved.
Fox is said to promote TTIP which would “significantly undercut the last vestiges of sovereign power, spuriously revered by Fox and his allies, by insisting that the government open up the NHS and other public institutions to American companies, who could even sue the UK in international courts if policies affect their profits”.
Owen Smith: Labour’s corporate leadership candidate
Having worked at the heart of America’s corporate world, he is acceptable to right-wing Labour and Conservatives.
As head of government affairs for Pfizer, which involved lobbying and public relations for the US drug company:
- He chose to work with Pfizer, which reached a $2.3 billion settlement with the US government in 2009 for fraudulent marketing and kickbacks paid to doctors who prescribed Lyrica and other Pfizer products and $400 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit over this case.
- He endorsed a Pfizer-backed report offering patients a choice between NHS services and private-sector healthcare providers.
- He helped the drugs company to strike an exclusive distribution agreement with UniChem, the wholesaling arm of Alliance-Boots; the OFT’s chief executive warned that such agreements “could cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds while reducing standards of service”.
Mr Smith then decided to move on to work as head of corporate affairs at the biotech company Amgen until 2015, a company recovering ground after its anti-anemia blockbusters, Aranesp and Epogen, had been hampered by losses due to concerns about side effects, regulatory issues and insurance trouble
There is a real danger – as Monbiot points out – that people with such histories are only concerned with promoting the millionaires’ agenda, by urging that the social contract which makes this country more or less habitable be ripped apart.
There is an honest and public-spirited alternative – “Remind you of anyone?”.
Posted on August 1, 2016, in Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Economy, Foreign policy, Government, Health, Inequality, Lobbying, MPs, Politics, Public relations, Revolving door, Vested interests and tagged Amgen, George Monbiot, international trade secretary, MP Owen Smith, Pfizer, the millionaire’s agenda, the social contract, TTIP. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.