Via John Wight’s Twitter account we saw a link to an article by Saurav Dutt, novelist, independent film producer, playwright, screenwriter, graphic design illustrator, accomplished author and writer. After James Landale, BBC diplomatic correspondent -amongst many others – reported David Cameron’s description of Afghanistan and Nigeria as corrupt, Saurav Dutt asked if anyone is contending that the UK is not corrupt?
”What the City and the tax havens are up to isn’t anything as morally defensible as corruption – it’s that good old fashioned criminal act of “receiving”. It gives corruption a bad name . . . There isn’t a lot of corruption in the UK, well, not in cash . . . “
The well-filled envelope type of corruption is common in some countries. How people laughed at Neil Hamilton when it was alleged that he received money in this way – British corruption is less obvious but now well realised by the general public. When will we protest like the Indian people?
As noted in the earlier post, readers send many links to news about the revolving door, rewards for failure, the political influence wielded by the corporate world and lucrative appointments for the friends and family of those with political influence; this is the British way.
Dutt says that corruption comes from the ‘top’ down and is endemic in Western society: “In a fiscal sense it is the banks, financial institutions and ‘big business’ with acceptance from politicians (who also get their cut one way or another) and moves on to a more moral sense with the Police and the legal professions”.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption was established in November 2011 to raise awareness of the impact of international corruption and to enhance and strengthen UK anti-corruption policies and mechanisms. Could they answer Dutt’s questions?
- How many MPs voted for health legislation when they have interests in private health care?
- Why does Cameron appoint Ministers to the education department who have a direct interest in academies that their companies are involved in?
- Why does this government give honours to people who have given their party money?
- Why does this government pass legislation that directly benefits their donors?
As Dutt says “The Transparency International corruption index shows we have some way to go before we reach the dizzy heights of Denmark, and a short stroll down the slippery path to the likes of Qatar and the UAE”.
Jane Croft, Law Courts Correspondent for the Financial Times reports that the UK government is facing pressure from human rights activists about why it has intervened in a US lawsuit brought by Niger Delta communities who are suing oil major Royal Dutch Shell, claiming that Shell is responsible for serious human rights abuses and environmental damage in the region.
Land, rivers and wetlands have been spoiled by oil spills
Over 2,000 oil spills have been reported in the Niger Delta, which, according to Amnesty International, have devastated the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. Yet, the companies responsible, which include Shell, have to date failed to adequately compensate those affected.
The UK government and the Dutch government have jointly filed a so-called “amicus brief” to the US Supreme Court on the side of Shell in the long running Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum case.
Shell did not wish to comment on the court case. The Foreign Office said in a statement that the UK has a strong reputation as a defender of human rights.
Amnesty International has urged the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to ask the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the reasons behind this intervention.
When asked what was the root of the problem, the answer was corruption.
The words of renowned musician Femi Kuti, following nationwide protests in Nigeria, also describe the problem in Britain – and others.