I subscribe to posts from Open Britain. They provide worthwhile analyses of the state of Britain. Try this latest post for size - I find it's so good I want to share it with you:
|My thanks to the Guardian newspaper for this telling image|
We're not the only ones worried about the UK's flimsy safeguards against political corruption. Lord Evans, outgoing chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL), spoke out yesterday about the UK's "very weak" compliance with ethical standards, urging for a complete "overhaul" of the way we regulate ministerial conduct.
Evans brought up the government's recent decision to reject many of the CSPL's recommendations on improving political transparency and oversight. Even for the few meagre reforms that Sunak's government has elected to adopt, Evans is concerned that recent governments have already been ignoring the existing rules. The CSPL chair described it as a"structural problem", that there is no working compliance function "within government or across public service".
Even Lord Evans himself is understating the severity of the problem we have. The outgoing chair has assured the public that he doesn't believe the UK is a "deeply corrupt" country, but that we risk becoming one if we fail to revamp our ethics requirements and lobbying rules.
I'd urge Lord Evans to take a step back and look at the actual state of British politics in 2023. Over the last few years, we've witnessed absurd violations of almost every basic ethical norm and standard in existence. So many scandals that, each taken alone, should have raised major questions about our political system, have failed to produce any meaningful new safeguards. It keeps getting worse.
Remember when David Cameron lobbied government ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, pocketing over £7 million?
Remember when the UK government purchased £4 billion of unusable PPE equipment and Tory chums and donors made off with a fortune?
How about when it emerged that MPs earned over £10 million from second jobs in the course of just one year?
Or maybe the billionaire Prime Minister Rishi Sunak having financial ties to tech giant Infosys, which was awarded £172 million in public sector contracts?
The list just goes on and on and on. It's not even shocking anymore. While it's always possible to be more corrupt, we've long crossed beyond anything resembling decent public service. We'd say it meets the criteria for "deeply corrupt".
Nevertheless, Evans main point is well made, and it's never been more crucial to call out our frail political safeguards. As Evans was speaking, Boris Johnson was being being appointed an adviser to the "international democracy union". We're up against forces that have utter contempt for basic accountability and standards, and we need to champion any voice that stands in the way of the country's burgeoning authoritarians. We urgently need to restore sanity and basic common sense to British politics.
Our first four democracy goals (listed in our UK Democracy Goals report) call for a binding ministerial code, a stricter public appointments process, a more powerful watchdog for MP's business interests, and much more transparency around government lobbying. Even that's only the start.
Let's make politicians work for us again. Let's take Westminster back from the corporate lobbyists, the shady think-tanks, and the billionaire mega-donors. Let's build a system where the people we elect have a public duty to uphold rather than business interests to push.
We can get there, but we need a critical mass of support. Whatever you can contribute to help us out with goes a long way. Don't let the news cycle or the bleak state of the UK get you down – we can fix this if we all stand together.
All the best,
The Open Britain team
|Another fine cartoon from the Guardian newspaper - but remember: 'They are few; we are many'.|
WE ARE BEING MISGOVERNED BY A SMALL GROUP OF SELF-CENTRED WEALTHY POLITICIANS WHO DO NOT HAVE THE INTERESTS OF THE PUBLIC AT HEART - AND THE MANY ARE SUFFERING AS A RESULT.