One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's Everywhere

I'm just loving this cash-for-honours controversy. We've suddenly discovered that people are actually giving money to our rulers in exchange for titles and status. Oh, and it's never happened before, has it? I mean, those Kings in the Middle Ages were far too ethical to give away titles for money, weren't they? Before the Labour Party kicked the hereditary peers out of the House of Lords, I would have thought that half those old guys came from families that had bought their titles.

Now, I'm not complaining that all of a sudden we're pointing a bright searchlight on those that "expect" their donations to be recognised in some way. That's fine, good and very democractic in a Stalinist up-against-the-wall sort of way.

But what does piss me off is the fact that everyone is suddenly acting as if this sort of thing is totally unacceptable. And, in a way, out political leaders are also trying to disassociate themselves from anything so grubby.

Come on guys and girls, this is how it's been since the first outsider in the cavemens' tribe tried to bribe his way into the clan leader's good books with a choice piece of mastodon steak! Ever since there was prestige and power, there have been people trying to get close to that source of that prestige and power, and using whatever means at their disposal.

So when Mr Industrialist decides to give a squillion quid to the Tories or the Labour party, he's doing it for one of three reasons. One, he quite fancies being called "Lord Snootypants" and his wife quite fancies putting one over on the other ladies of the manor.

Two, he wants to rub shoulders with the great and the good, the powerful, the glamorous, and by being someone with deep pockets gives him that access.

Or three, he reckons that by being close to the folks who pull the levers of power, he might be able to get a hand on one of those levers and maybe tweak it a little this way or that - you know, get planning permission for his megastore, get his megamerger approved, that sort of thing.

And you know what? This isn't new! It's been going on, around the world, since we first started walking on two legs.

When we read stories about Italian Prime Ministers who aren't above a little "greasing the wheels of politics", or African kleptocracies that are bleeding their countries dry, or when we watch Bond films in which the hero is taking on corrupt Russian generals, we're not exactly breaking new territory here.

What is new, though, is the sudden outburst of moral aeration that's going on. All of a sudden everyone's beating their chest and bleating about corruption, the appearance of corruption and the dangers this poses to democracy.

Let's just cut the crap and admit it. We're innately corrupt. Doesn't matter what level we operate at, we're all at it. Somehow.


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