Patrick Cockburn – The Corruption of the Political Class

It is amusing to see how most people see their nation as the most corrupt, as if there are tables. With the exception of Scandinavia and Poland, all European governments are endemically corrupt. Laws and contracts are bought and sold, having little to do with democratic processes.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso)

Cross-posted from Counterpunch

Photograph Source: Daniel Lobo – CC BY 2.0

“We could slip into being a corrupt country,” said Jonathan Evans, the former head of MI5 and the crossbench peer who chairs the Committee on Standards in Public Life, as he denounced the government’s bid to save Owen Paterson’s political career and neuter parliamentary regulation of paid lobbyists.

On the same day Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons’ standards committee, said that what the Boris Johnson government was trying to do in overturning Paterson’s suspension was “a perversion of justice” and is “not what we do in this country – it’s what they do in Russia when a friend or a foe is suddenly under the cosh in the courts”.

But perhaps the government’s botched attempt to save Paterson’s skin – despite detailed evidence of him lobbying hard for the two commercial companies paying him £9,000 a month – is, on the contrary, exactly the way we now do things in the UK. Bryant’s analogy with Russia – he might have mentioned Iraq or Turkey or a score of other countries – may not be too far off the mark. Lord Evans is demonstrably correct about the slippage into corruption and wrong only about how far this process has gone.

1 Comment

  1. In politics, there is no such thing as a noble lie, whereas what appears to be a white lie in the minds of the politically innocent cannot ever be one in its conception and effect. Every aspect and detail of western society has become politicised. Fake news is a black lie. Propaganda, hiding and/or distorting the true facts is cultivating, engendering, supporting and disseminating black lies. The seemingly inexorable necessity of making society ready for fundamental change. The notion that systemic change can only be effected through lies is the choice made by the politically active and leads to the belief amongst the rest of the people that political participation must be based on lies as a new normal. Since employment and, increasingly, all social relations are entirely politicised in the West, we will know nothing is certain; only that everything is lies. It’s a novel experiment in a brave new world.

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