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When we accept that money changing hands is not the only benchmark that identifies a corrupt Government we soon begin to understand what’s wrong

January 2, 2019 Leave a comment

No, Brexit is not the only ailment affecting this Government. In fact, what the slippage of time and the way we simply overlook so much allows is the strange and growing idea that there weren’t any problems before Brexit came along.

This is of course complete bullshit.

But it’s useful if you are a politician and you know that you have lost control of the very comfortable gravy train that you have been holidaying on, all too often for a very long time indeed.

For some reason, deeply embedded in our psyches is the strange idea that behaviour is either acceptable or unacceptable depending upon whether it fits within some written or identifiable set of rules.

Yes, the ambiguity of what we call social norms presents an increasingly difficult challenge when so many people are hell bent on changing the communal perception of what is considered to be acceptable – often for purposes which are only aligned to their own.

But without this interference, there had existed a code which worked well until the point when it allows something to go very, very wrong.

Set in this mould is the definition or understanding of what it is or means to be corrupt. And to what it means to therefore miss behaviour which should be included, which is not, and that which through its absence explains a great many things about the way that the world and our political system actually works and impacts upon us all right now.

In its purest form, corrupt action or behaviour is apportioned to financial payments or monetary payoffs to secure contracts, favours or influence in Government.

We hate it.

We hate just the idea.

We hate even the slightest whiff of it.

That is why the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal created such a furor.

But is that the nearest that the UK ever gets to experiencing anything corrupt within the Governmnet System?

I would say no.

And if we open ourselves up to the real definition of corruption and what it is to be corrupt, we soon realise that in fact, there is a whole lot more besides.

During 8 years as a Borough Councillor, I never actually saw money changing hands between Councillors, Officers and the 3rd Parties beyond. But the smoke which was the tell-tale of brown envelopes was never far from conversation, particularly when planning matters were being discussed. It was very clear to other Councillors and members of the general public that decisions went very differently to what it would have been fair and reasonable to expect on a number of occasions and that it was as such only fair to assume that there had been some kind of preferential or pecuniary treatment involved, as there was simply no other logic to support it.

Smoke however, isn’t in itself a form of proof. And whilst I still find myself writing about questionable planning practices which carry the overriding suggestion that there is an unseen force or influence involved, we cannot prove anything against anyone until some form of proof has surfaced which proves that they – and their corrupt practices were actually involved.

But the problem runs much deeper.

Finding that brown envelope or the trail of a financial transaction is much easier than it will ever be than to prove that impartiality of thought does not exist and therefore preferences or prejudices are being employed at a very non-evidential level.

Corrupt behaviour is far more than just that which is focused upon money changing hands.

You are corrupt and engaged in corrupt practice the moment that any form of bias is entertained in the execution of a choice or decision taken from a position of public responsibility whether that position be elected, appointed or some form of agency is involved.

To give this some context, we all find the stories of MP’s appointing family members, old boys networks and friends of friends getting plumb jobs in industry a very distasteful practice – and this is when there is no discernable link or impact upon the public involved.

Look a little closer and you soon know that any form of discrimination which disadvantages what should be the natural choice for a role, decision or policy will inevitably have negative consequences that reach far beyond the obvious. We can only conclude that corrupt behaviour has been involved.

Play all this out on a National stage and when you see politicians gorging themselves over the trough of opportunities that face them, we can soon see that money changing hands is in no way near as damaging to the practice of trading off their votes and therefore responsibility in exchange for career benefits, job security, patronage or where any opportunity to make a name for oneself has become involved.

We also forget that self-interest neglects the responsibility to ideas, actions and practices which will benefit the many, rather than just the few.

And in the days of Brexit, this is perhaps the most damaging and reprehensible form of corruption which is plaguing all of our Parliament, because this sell out is over the future of an entire nation. The cost of which is incalculable to everyone beyond those who have the positions of influence and power today, where priorotising themselves is the only motivation they consider to have voice enough to listen to and to allow to become involved.

 

 

 

 

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