The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The Sleaze In Waiting?

Posted by The Futility Monster on February 9, 2010 @ 10:03

The things I manage to find sometimes impress me. Not today.

Nobody’s perfect. Most of all, politicians. It’s a familiar refrain around these parts, but they are just as human as the rest of us.

And, as a stark warning as to what lies ahead, this morning The Times are running a story regarding a £50,000 payment received by Conservative MP Liam Fox, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.

It’s not a particularly damaging story in reality. There is no suggestion of anything improper in response to the payment, but the danger signs are there regarding conflicts of interest. The payment was made by a businessman with significant interests in the defence sector.

In this case, the donor, Jon Moulton, is apparently a long-standing contributor to Liam Fox’s coffers. What he gains in return for this is open to question. A warm fuzzy feeling inside?

There aren’t many people these days, and I’m almost one of them, who would believe that serious political donations are made with no expectation of reward and purely for altruistic purposes. And I suspect most of us are especially cynical about donations made by people with significant business interests.

Labour were elected on a pledge to be whiter-than-white. It didn’t happen. Laughably, the whole image vanished within the space of a couple of years with the Bernie Ecclestone donation which, very co-incidentally, managed to delay the introduction of a ban on tobacco sponsorship.

The Tories will be hoping they can escape for at least a few years without any major allegations involving cash.

But it won’t happen.

Cameron has made no such pledges equivalent to Blair, but there are endless promises to clean up politics and dust out the old mantras of campaign finance reform. Maybe they’ll even do it unilaterally when they rise to power as a way to smack down Labour’s union funding. It would be nasty of them, but it would be entirely within character.

The trouble is that in spite of the reforms over the years, politics, lobbying and influence-peddling is awash with more cash than ever, even in these troubled economic times. The amount of money being spent by insurance, health and banking corporations in the USA to buy off the Senate is a testament to that.

It’s why I made a prediction at the start of the year that the Tories will be embroiled in a scandal of some kind. It’s just inevitable. There have been the odd rumblings while they’ve been on their ascent to power, but nothing too damaging to shake off.

But once you’re in power, suddenly those cheques gain an extra nought to the end of them…

Can they avoid the temptation?

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