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Is anyone seriously contending that the UK is not corrupt?

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 . . . “

india corruption demo

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”.

anti corruption APPG header

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”.




Political loyalties: EU or USA? The red carpet treatment wins the day

cameron red carpet muscat

Saudi Arabia, with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led a gulf coalition airstrike against Yemen in March. The Obama administration is supporting the Saudi-led air war with intelligence, air refueling operations and expediting weapons deliveries and other crucial support.

Today a Moseley reader draws our attention to the news reported by the Guardian that – eager to follow suit – David Cameron has extolled the ‘defence’ products made by BAE Systems and assured the company that every effort would be made by the UK government to support the selling of their equipment to Saudi Arabia, Oman and other countries.

This, despite the European parliament’s vote in favour of an EU-wide ban on arms being sold to Saudi Arabia in protest at its heavy aerial bombing of Yemen, which has been condemned by the UN.

According to a BBC report, Houthis – aka Shiite Muslim rebels – are seeking change from weak governance, corruption, resource depletion and poor infrastructure, unemployment, high food prices, limited social services and large-scale displacement.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have taken to the streets of the capital, Sana’a, to voice their anger at the Saudi invasion.

yemen bombing

Death and destruction: the fruits of Saudi, UK, USA labour


Economic and moral benefit gained if UK government stops courting wealthy authoritarian rulers – Ann Feltham

Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph and others reported that David Cameron had agreed to “strengthen co-operation” with Saudi Arabia despite concerns about the country’s human rights record and criticism of British arms sales.


Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah meets David Cameron in Riyadh

Ann Feltham, Parliamentary Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade, wrote in the FT yesterday addressing a correspondent who vehemently recommended UK parliamentarians to avoid criticising Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – the UK’s “real friends” in the Middle East – who have purchased vast quantities of military equipment.

She reminds readers that – as well as being morally repugnant – such an approach can lead to problems in the longer term, “as the consequences of arming the likes of Saddam Hussein and Muammer Gaddafi clearly show.” She continues:

“The letter also cites the number of jobs in the UK sustained by the military contracts, but, as your international economics editor Alan Beattie has pointed out: “You can have as many arms export jobs as you are prepared to waste public money subsidising.” (“Promoting exports is full of risk for the world economy”, August 10 2010.)

“Research and development funding, export credit insurance and a government arms export promotion unit with nearly 150 staff – all these and more are paid for by the taxpayer, though the beneficiaries are BAE Systems and the other arms companies.

“Successive UK governments have made a choice to focus support on military industry, but despite the subsidies, it is declining.

“It also employs a lot of workers, such as engineers, whose skills are in short supply. If, for example, the government support was transferred to the growing renewable energy sector it should bring economic benefit to the UK. It could also help provide energy security without the current reliance on authoritarian regimes, and remove any motivation for intervention to protect oil supplies.”

Ann Feltham concludes that if the UK government were to stop courting the authoritarian rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as potential arms purchasers, and condemned their human rights abuses, the benefits would be both economic and moral.