Category Archives: Lobbying
At a time when apprehensions about low-quality food entering the country post Brexit are rising, the Times reports that Michael Gove, the environment secretary has announced that “Britain will lead an agricultural revolution with the use of gene editing”.
In July, after hearing scientific evidence that gene editing “causes many profound mutations and DNA damage”, the European Court of Justice ruled that food resulting from genome editing would be regarded as genetically modified, which is outlawed in Europe.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is underwhelmed
Disregarding this science-based evidence, Gove pledged, at yesterday’s CLA meeting in Westminster, that scientists and farmers would be freed from this European court ruling. The first report seen however, makes no reference to this exciting prospect, whatsoever.
Genome editing, or genome engineering is a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in a specific location in the genome (genetic material) of a living organism, unlike early genetic engineering techniques that randomly insert genetic material into a host genome.
Support from vested interests
Scientists in the industry, like the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, funded by the government’s Department of Business believe that the technique will lead to crops and animals with higher yields, resistance to disease and the ability to cope with the effects of climate change.
Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association, urged the government to keep the UK aligned with the European court: “Scientific research has long shown that these new gene-editing technologies give rise to similar uncertainties and risks as GM always has. We have always been clear that these new plant breeding techniques are GMOs [genetically modified organisms] and therefore are banned in organic farming and food”.
Bloomberg reports that under the Trump administration, gene-edited foods don’t need to be labelled or regulated and that Zach Luttrell, a principal at industry consultant StraightRow LLC, sees gene-editing as a way to continue lowering costs.
A recent Telegraph investigation (paywall) revealed that senior MPs and peers, including many ministers, have given access to Parliament to spouses involved in lobbying for companies and campaign groups. Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and Sir Kevin Barron, the chairman of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee (Telegraph, ‘sleaze watchdog’, are among 900 parliamentarians whose partners hold “spouse passes” entitling them to around-the-clock access to the Palace of Westminster despite their work for organisations that lobby MPs and ministers over policies and funding.
They note that in recent years politics in the UK has been plagued by corruption scandals and public trust in politicians is plunging.
These scandals have exposed serious fault lines in the UK political system, and have raised particular concerns over the following:
- The regime for parliamentary expenses
- Lobbying of politicians by those who can apparently buy access that influences legislation spending priorities or policy decisions;
- The revolving door between government and resources-resources-business;
- Political party funding; and
- Oversight regimes.
They explain that the problem lies when it happens behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. It can lead politicians in office to steer away from good government. Their decisions can benefit those who fund them. The public interest comes second. Special interests, backed by money, may sway decision-making and undermine democracy.
Opaque lobbying practices backed up by extensive funds at the disposal of interest groups can lead to undue, unfair influence in policies – creating risks for political corruption and undermining public trust in decision-making institutions. We can attribute this factor, in part, to the crisis of confidence in politics we have seen unravel in the UK in recent years, resulting in apathy and low voter turnouts.
TI-UK believes regulation needs to address both those who seek to influence inappropriately and those who are being lobbied:
- Money should not be a distorting factor in forming policy or gaining access to decision makers.
- Lobbying on any particular issue or decision should be visible and have an audit trail.
Such information should be presented in a manner that is accessible and comparable for the public, media and civil society to scrutinise.
The report on UK corruption by TI-UK revealed that the British public perceive political parties to be the most corrupt sector in the UK and parliament to be the third most corrupt. It concludes there is a danger that the public will cease to regard decisions made by government and parliament as legitimate and fair; this represents a serious threat to British democracy and ultimately, to the rule of law.
Originally published on the FDF website
Not so in UK. Whereas 43% are employed in Indian agriculture, British farmers and employees registered to vote are only 1% of the country’s population according to the World Bank’s interesting list and so are not regarded as politically significant, despite their vital role.
Is building a vote-bank the British farmers’ only chance of a fair deal?
A call, not to back a particular party or candidate but a policy such as the one set out by Farmers for Action (NI) and other farm groups (below), which commissioned the drafting of a parliamentary bill on farmgate prices. If successful it would return farmers a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked across the staples.
A vote-bank could be built by enlisting the support of the public and those who do business with dairy farmers:
- feed mills
- machinery suppliers
Juliette Jowit of the Financial Times summarised: “As farm incomes fall thousands of jobs go in allied industries: vets, feed and machinery suppliers”. (Farmers suffer under the yoke of global forces, 2.5.00)
Douglas Chalmers, when regional director for the Country Land and Business Association [North], said “Agriculture . . . supports jobs and services in the local villages and often the larger towns, especially if there is a market . . . As farming loses critical mass, all the agriculturally dependent businesses become unsustainable, and with no vets, marts, hauliers and merchants, further pressure is felt by those who have continued to farm . . .” He continues:
“We ask for a fair deal: that those who set policies and impose legislation consider the wider and real effects of their actions on individuals, farms and businesses in rural areas”. FG: 9.1.04
- Some years ago David and Rosemary Jones of Trebersed Farm, Carmarthen, highlighted the importance of farming to the rural economy by presenting their accounts which reveal that in an eight-month period they paid 117 separate rural businesses and companies for work done or goods supplied. The yearly total is estimated at 130 suppliers. Rural economy: Farmers Guardian 19.3.99
- Ruth and Richard Burrows, Devonshire farmers, assembled suppliers representing 3000 others whose livelihoods depend on them and other farmers. A photograph was taken with notes giving the names and roles of the people pictured. Mrs Burrows said: “They are living proof of the importance of the spending power of the farmer and how enormously important agriculture is in terms of the entire economic structure around here. The rural communities of Britain tick over on a system of mutual dependency of which the farm often forms the hub. If it goes to the wall, dozens of ancillary trades suffer. The web of rural ruin, Richard Price, Daily Mail, 23.9.99
The problems being faced by dairy farmers do not stop at the farm gate but threaten the thousands of other business and jobs both locally and nationally.
Maintaining viable dairy farms not only protects livelihoods of farming families and others directly involved, it also makes a major contribution to local economies and the future of businesses, jobs, and families in the locality.
That is the key message from dairy farmer’s wife, Kathleen Calvert (left), who asks for a fair deal for dairy farmers who receive a significantly lower share of the retail milk price than they did ten years ago, despite considerably higher costs:
“Payment which covers production costs and overheads must be the norm for British food producers. This money will circulate around individual rural communities through the supply of professional goods and services to the prime producer, helping to provide a diverse range of other employment opportunities that support individual families within rural communities.”
Dugdale Nutrition, one of the 60 local businesses with which she trades, specialises in feeds for ruminant animals, its core market being dairy farming. This means its 49 employees and their families rely heavily in turn on local dairy farms for their livelihood. Matthew Dugdale, managing director of this company which has supplied the Calvert family for three generations, explains: “Dairy farming is like any business, needing a fair and sustainable price for its product to ensure a fair income for the long hours worked and a decent return on the often large amounts of capital employed, and very importantly, surplus profit to reinvest for the future.”
Locally based businesses circulate profits within the communities they serve. In turn they are reliant on viable, widespread and profitable farm businesses adding immense value to local economies. It is in their interests to see that farmers get a fair price for their produce.
Britain’s political-corporate circles deliberately failed to give fair compensation to thousands of NHS patients who received contaminated blood. But France, Japan, Italy and other countries put those responsible for their contaminated blood supplies on trial.
Medics and politicians knew by the mid1970s that commercially manufactured blood products from the USA were suspect. See: Risk, science and the politics of the blood scandals in Ireland, Scotland, England and Finland (page 4) which cited:
- the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada’, (Ottawa, 1997),
- National Academy of Science 1975 (WHO partner)
- and the World Health Assembly, Resolution 28.72. (Geneva, 1975).
The World Health Organisation had warned the UK not to import blood from countries that paid donors and had a high incidence of hepatitis, such as the US. By the mid-1980s there were warnings of a similar situation in respect of HIV. Nevertheless, these products continued to be imported and used. Successive governments refused to hold a public inquiry into what went wrong.
The Haemophilia Society: https://slideplayer.com/slide/4794472/,slide 5
The blood industry proved to be a powerful lobby and nothing was done
Many manufacturers supplied clotting factor products to the UK during the mid-1970s and 1980s which infected haemophiliacs with life-threatening viruses. Armour’s Factorate was the most used product, with Baxter’s Hemofil, Immuno’s Kryobulin and Bayer-owned Cutter’s Koate following, see paragraph 21.332: “Final Report: Chapter 19 – Production of Blood Products – Facilities”.
The Penrose Inquiry (Chapter 5) recorded that in the 70s, Dr J Garrott Allen found that the incidence of Hepatitis among haemophilia patients was related to the increase in the use of prison plasma and “Skid Row” inhabitants, “whose use of alcohol, drugs and unsterilised needles made them prime hepatitis carriers”. His findings, published in the journal “California Medicine”, provoked a national debate but “the blood industry constituted a powerful lobby, and nothing was done” – or as the Haemophilia Society (page 19) put it: “Although a great deal of evidence was clearly documented in the report, no useful recommendations were made.”
Over 2400 of the people who were given contaminated blood have now died and MP Diana Johnson (left) asked for an urgent Commons debate in 2017 – recorded here. She had to get six leaders of opposition parties — including the DUP — to sign a letter to Ms May asking for an inquiry before Theresa May finally announced a public inquiry into how thousands of people became infected with HIV and hepatitis.
The MP for Stratford on Avon said: “Many victims—this is certainly true of my constituent, Clare Walton—initially did not want an inquiry; they wanted a settlement”.
The BBC reported that Eleanor Grey QC, speaking on behalf of the Department for Health and Social Care in England (and its predecessor which covered the whole of the UK), apologised for the infected blood scandal.
”At worst, a cover up or, at best, a lack of candour about past events”: Eleanor Grey QC
Many of the relevant records had disappeared. Former Health Secretary Patrick Jenkin and former Health Minister David Owen both searched the departmental archives, but were told that the documents had been accidentally destroyed. The British Medical Journal records that the public inquiry, which opened in September, was told in a preliminary hearing that the UK government engaged in a cover-up and in some cases the NHS altered or destroyed the medical records of patients who received blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s.
A Private Eye journalist, after giving a detailed account of the tragedy, ended: “If the government wants to demonstrate just how sincere its apology really is, it might take a leaf out of the Irish government’s book and pay survivors proper compensation and ensure priority healthcare, in recognition that their injuries were caused by the NHS. And do this before the inquiry resumes in earnest next spring.”
But ultimately, as Sunita Narain points out re the Union Carbide tragedy in Bhopal, it is a collective failure: as in other cases, the British public have not expressed the level of outrage needed to shame the government into action.
Nationally and internationally eminent researchers and commentators are focusing on the damage done to damage the environment and human health by agriculture (example).
This, in a country whose manufacturing industry was the first to pollute its air, water and soil and whose armaments industry continues the process (see a recent study of pollution caused by war activity, during development and testing of hardware, weapon systems and procedures, war operations and subsequent reconstruction).
A country which could and should provide its own staple food is becoming increasingly dependent on imports because their family farmers have been grossly underpaid for many years by middlemen and large retailers. According to the NFU (2015), the number of dairy farmers in England and Wales has halved since 2002 – cause and effect.
As family farmers leave in droves each year we must assume that the country’s environment and human health will improve by leaps and bounds. Not so, their land will be bought by those largescale investors who have reaped the benefit of EU subsidies for so many years.
William Taylor and other leaders of Northern Ireland’s farming organisations have been actively lobbying politicians from all parties and none. Their August press release ended:
Farming families traditionally were charity givers, now 25%+ are living below the poverty line, therefore, denoting complete current Government policy failure. FFA therefore call on the Westminster Government to implement legislation on farm gate prices which would return farmers a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked forthwith across the staples throughout the UK to force fairness into the food chain for farmers immediately.
There is now proof from University College Dublin that in the farming industry every new job on a farm would create 4 down the line and whilst farming is not viewed by Westminster as the biggest UK industry in money terms (partly the fault of the food corporates) it is the largest UK industry by tonnage handled, 60%+ of all commercial road vehicles haul food or food related products to give but one example.
If legislation on farm gate prices is not forthcoming from Westminster, such as that being sought at Stormont when it re-sits to sort the UK’s farm gate price crisis, then it will confirm what we all suspect, the large food retailers are out of control with their influence in ‘Democratic’ Westminster, the limited powers of the supermarket Ombudsman’s Office a case in point!
Award-winning journalist Jonathan Cook asks if Israel is the hidden hand The Jerusalem Post highlights the words of Jonathan Hoffman, a pro-Israel activist from London and critic of Corbyn, to JTA, “The wagons are circling around him in ever tighter circles” – and days later its editorial commands “Oust Corbyn”.
Eitay Mack is a Jerusalem-based human rights lawyer whose work includes defending the rights of Palestinians and Israeli human rights activists. He also focusses on Israel’s export of arms to repressive regimes – left, seen requiring access to records documenting Israel’s arms sales to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide
On August 19th, on behalf of 18 Israeli citizens, Mack filed a freedom of information request to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, in order “to verify that these play no part in the de-legitimization waged in recent years on the UK Labour Party and Mr. Corbyn.” In his letter, sent to both ministries, Mack states that “in the past two years, it has been revealed that the two ministries carry out activities against critics of the State of Israel in the UK,” citing specifically Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “public confrontations” with Corbyn.
He has asked for the release of non-classified information, documents, records and correspondence by the two ministries with NGOs, groups, individuals and journalists in the UK, as they regard the Labour Party and Corbyn.
In Mondoweiss, Yumna Patel asks Mack: ”What was your motivation for filing this request for information?
Mack: “What is happening to Corbyn is what we see happening daily to BDS activists around the world. They are being harassed and silenced by the Israeli government and its representatives and supporters, claiming that their activities are anti-Semitic. One of the results of one of my freedom for information requests that I filed in the last year is that we managed to get admission from the Israeli Ministry of Justice that they had been paying thousands of shekels to international law firms to criminalize BDS activists in Europe.
“So now in the case of Jeremy Corbyn, he has a lot of support. But this same tactic of delegitimization by claiming anti-Semitism has happened to activists that are not the head of political parties and that don’t have that economic and political support”.
Read the whole letter here.
On August 24th, Jonathan Cook notes assistance for the Israeli ministries’ onslaught in an information packed article
A report was written last year by two pro-Israel lobby groups, the New York based Anti-Defamation League and Tel Aviv’s Reut Institute, in collaboration with Israeli government “experts” and endorsed by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. It warned that solidarity with Palestinians had “migrated into mainstream left-wing parties in Europe”. The damage could be curtailed, according to the report, by “driving a wedge” between what it termed “harsh critics” and “soft critics” of Israel. It proposed “professionalising” the existing network of pro-Israel lobby groups and improving “information-gathering” to target Palestinian solidarity activists – or what it called a “delegitimisation network”. Such work needed to be done “covertly” and “uncompromisingly,” the authors stated.
Their aim is to marginalise ‘harsh critics’ to a point where their criticism is considered socially inappropriate and with – the aid of Britain’s mainstream media and New Labour MPs – it has been quite successful with impressionable readers.
Patel continues: “Why is Israel so invested in the case of Jeremy Corbyn?”
Eitay Mack: “This is the head of a very important political party in a very important country. He is pro-Palestine and pro-human rights, and the Netanyahu government sees Corbyn as a big obstacle in implementing its policy around the world. In the past few years, Israel has felt very good with the climate of anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiments in Western Europe.
Cook: “. . . the first European leader to prioritise the cause of justice”
“The main obstacle at the moment for the Israeli government to continue further with its goal of taking the Palestinian issue off the table, is Jeremy Corbyn. Since Jeremy Corbyn managed to achieve the leadership role of a mainstream party in the UK, this could happen in other places, and Israel is scared of that”. And Cook (left) adds: “If Corbyn eventually becomes prime minister, he would be the first European leader to prioritise the cause of justice for Palestinians over Israel’s continuing occupation”.
Tags: 1994 Rwanda massacre, Anti-Defamation League, Britain’s mainstream media, Eitay Mack, Freedom of Information request, Israel, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jeremy Corbyn, Jonathan Cook, Netanyahu government, New Labour MPs, Palestinian solidarity activists, Tel Aviv’s Reut Institute, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Yumna Patel
Broken Britain 16: HMRC refuses to investigate money-laundering and tax fraud charges by largest Conservative donor
Professor Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting at University of Sheffield and Emeritus Professor of Accounting at University of Essex, draws attention to the case of the UK telecoms giant Lycamobile, the biggest donor to the Conservative Party, which has accepted £2.2m in donations since 2011.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has refused to assist the French authorities and raid Lycamobile’s UK premises in order to investigate suspected money laundering and tax fraud.
Economia, the publication for members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) which covers news and analysis on the essential issues in business, finance and accountancy, reports:
Following an initial denial (left, Financial Times), Economia confirmed that in an official response to the French government dated 30 March 2017, a HMRC official noted that Lycamobile is “a large multinational company” with “vast assets at their disposal” and would be “extremely unlikely to agree to having their premises searched”, said the report.
The letter from HMRC to the French government added, “It is of note that they are the biggest corporate donor to the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Theresa May and donated 1.25m Euros to the Prince Charles Trust in 2012”.
This is an ongoing saga: in 2016 Economia noted: “The Tories have come under fire for continuing to accept donations of more than £870,000 from Lycamobile since December, while it was being investigated for tax fraud and money laundering”.
In 2016 In May it emerged that KPMG’s audit of Lycamobile was limited due to the complex nature of the company’s accounts. Later, KPMG resigned saying it was unable to obtain “all the information and explanations from the company that we consider necessary for the purpose of our audit”.
HMRC: “has become a state within a state”.
In recent years, the Public Accounts Committee has conducted hearings into tax avoidance by giant global corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Shire and others. The hearings have not been followed by HMRC test cases.
The Public Accounts Committee has also held hearings into the role of the large accountancy firms in designing and marketing avoidance schemes and exposed their predatory culture. In a telling rebuke to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Committee chair said: “You are offering schemes to your clients—knowingly marketing these schemes—where you have judged there is a 75% risk of it then being deemed unlawful. That is a shocking finding for me to be told by one of your tax officials.”
Despite the above and numerous court judgments declaring the tax avoidance schemes marketed by accountancy firms to be unlawful, not a single firm has been investigated, fined or prosecuted.
There are real concerns that HMRC is too sympathetic to large companies and wealthy elites.
A major reason for that is the ‘revolving door’, the colonisation of HMRC by big business and its discourses: its current board members include non-executive directors connected with British Airways, Mondi, Anglo American, Aviva, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Rolls Royce.
After a stint at HMRC many of the non-execs return to big business. Corporate sympathies are therefore not counterbalanced by the presence of ordinary taxpayers or individuals from SMEs and civil society.
Sikka ends: “In such an environment, it is all too easy to turn a Nelsonian eye on corporate abuses and shower concessions on companies and wealthy individuals”. Read more here.
Why should we care?
Because tax revenue pays for the services used by all except the richest, the education health, transport and social services, increasingly impoverished by funding cuts imposed by the last two British governments.
The Shadow Chancellor has twice called for more rigorous examination and tightening of processes at HMRC to ensure that corporations and wealthy individuals are free from political corruption and pay fair rates of taxes.
Will the next government elected be for the many, not the few?
Posted in Austerity, Capitalism, Civil servants, Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Cuts, Democracy undermined, disability rights, Education, Finance, Government, Health, Lobbying, Parliamentary failure, Party funding, Transport, Vested interests, Welfare payments
Professor Luis Suarez-Villa (Social Ecology and of Planning, Policy and Design at the University of California, Irvine) wrote in the FT recently:
American democracy was hijacked long ago by money and powerful interests, turning it into what amounts to a system of legalised corruption.
Lobbying, political action committees (super-pacs), myriad forms of campaign contributions and patronage are at the core of this phenomenon.
By comparison, the so-called Russian meddling in the 2016 election seems amateurish at best, and perhaps (more seriously) a way for the political establishment to divert the attention of the American people from the real problems of a corrupt system of public governance, whose patrons and beneficiaries want the rest of the world to think it is democratic.
A review of his book Corporate Power, Oligopolies, and the Crisis of the State (2015) expands his argument:
“From cradle to grave the decisions made by these entities have an enormous impact on how we live and work, what we eat, our physical and psychological health, what we know or believe, whom we elect, and how we deal with one another and with the natural world around us.
“At the same time, government seems ever more subservient to the power of these oligopolies, providing numerous forms of corporate welfare—tax breaks, subsidies, guarantees, and bailouts—while neglecting the most basic needs of the population.
“In Corporate Power, Oligopolies, and the Crisis of the State, Luis Suarez-Villa employs a multidisciplinary perspective to provide unprecedented documentation of a growing crisis of governance, marked by a massive transfer of risk from the private sector to the state, skyrocketing debt, great inequality and economic insecurity, along with an alignment of the interests of politicians and a new, minuscule but immensely wealthy and influential corporate elite.
“Thanks to this dysfunctional environment, Suarez-Villa argues, stagnation and a vanishing public trust have become the hallmarks of our time”.
His charges apply just as accurately to the British scene: British democracy has also been hijacked by money and powerful interests, turning it into what amounts to a system of legalised corruption.
Emeritus Professor Luis Suarez-Villa is the author of several other books, including Globalization and Technocapitalism: The Political Economy of Corporate Power and Technological Domination and Technocapitalism: A Critical Perspective on Technological Innovation and Corporatism.
Carillion provokes MP’s broadside: “taxpayer-funded services should be conducted in an ethos of public service rather than for private advantage”
Major banks and credit insurers are calling on the government to ‘step in’, as Carillion’s debts soar and ‘huge write-downs’ are announced on the value of several old contracts.
Some – according to the Financial Times – are seeking a taxpayer guarantee for the company’s debt and assurances that Carillion will be allowed to compete for future contracts, despite the company’s troubled state. Oliver Dowden, newly promoted to the frontbench, says that the government is making contingency plans for Carillion folding.
If Carillion goes under, writes MP Jon Trickett, “We would effectively be paying for these services twice. This government has socialised the risk but privatised years’ worth of profit for shareholders . . . it is allowing firms with public contracts to pay millions to private shareholders as the public suffers from cuts to disability benefits, schools and the NHS”. He adds:
“They are in debt to the tune of £1.5bn, while being valued at less than £100m and are being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority over financial statements issued in the run-up to July’s profit warning . . .and if they fold, Britain could face a huge bailout so that our schools, hospitals and train lines keep running”.
Will the 99% bail Carillion out?
The government now relies on this contractor for a wide range of services. The Financial Times lists Carillion’s major contracts in the transport, defence/security and health sectors and points out that Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary has asked why ministers continued to sign off major contracts with the company even after it issued a profit warning in July 2017.
Theresa May’s new Cabinet ministers have – nevertheless – confirmed that they still intend to continue with the privatisation and outsourcing of public services to private firms which then make a profit at the expense of the taxpayer.
Some politicians and party members have, through directorships, shareholdings or the employment of family and friends, a vested interest in these companies, many of which donate to Conservative party funds, hoping to ensure another Conservative government.
MP Jon Trickett, shadow minister for the cabinet office, whose principled political life is outlined here, presents the view of ‘Corbyn Labour’, that taxpayer-funded services should be conducted in an ethos of public service rather than for private advantage: “Whether that’s to run welfare payments to those receiving universal credit, running hospitals or administrating schools in huge academy chains . . . “
He points out that when these firms cannot make good on their obligations under these contracts the British public picks up the bill, citing the termination of Virgin’s contracts on the East Coast main line.
The MP adds: “I represent a former mining area, which hasn’t seen meaningful private investment in decades, and little public investment since the 2010 election. Some of the poorest people in the country, with some of the worst prospects due to years of Tory government, live there. They have seen private firms make profit out of their benefits, their schools and crisis-stricken NHS services”. He ends by giving an assurance:
“Labour would reverse the presumption in favour of outsourcing and provide more cost-effective services, treating workers better by running many services in-house”.
Posted in Admirable politician, Banking, Capitalism, Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Cuts, Defence, disability rights, Economy, Finance, Government, Lobbying, Outsourcing, Party funding, Privatisation, Reward for failure, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests
Parliamentary lobbying condemned: 2010-2017
“It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.”
David Cameron, then prime minister, promised that a Conservative government would stop the lobbying industry’s attempts through former ministers to access and influence policy. His attack on “crony capitalism” came in a speech in which he attempted to tackle Britain’s “broken politics”:
“Now we all know that expenses has dominated politics for the last year. But if anyone thinks that cleaning up politics means dealing with this alone and then forgetting about it, they are wrong. Because there is another big issue that we can no longer ignore.
The Conservative leader said that the “£2 billion industry” has a big presence at Westminster and take in some cases MPs are approached more than 100 times a week by lobbyists.”
But in 2013:
And in 2017, admirable MP Paul Flynn sponsored Early Day Motion 1079
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS APPOINTMENTS
Date tabled: 15.03.2017
Primary sponsor: Flynn, Paul
That this House recalls former Prime Minister David Cameron’s condemnation in 2010 of politicians who are out to serve themselves and not the country by lobbying; notes the abject failure of the Government’s watchdog, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, to reduce the abuses of the potentially corrupting revolving door between ministerial office and big business lobbying; and calls on the Government to establish an effective watchdog that would enhance the House’s reputation for probity, removing the opportunities for former Ministers to sell their inside knowledge and contacts for financial advantage by prohibiting their lobbying for companies they influenced or regulated in their Ministerial roles.
As ACOBA, the Government’s ‘watchdog’, has failed to reduce the abuses of the revolving door between ministerial office and big business lobbying, government should establish an effective mechanism which would prevent former Ministers from selling their inside knowledge and contacts for financial gain.