Monday, 4 June 2012

Cameron's ongoing corruption of government

According to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport acted "wisely" in his dealings with the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corp.  This fits neatly alongside his other amoralities over the last two years - the staunch support for a Defence Secretary whose extra-Parliamentary interests and relationships were dubious to the extent that many reasonable people might have considered them corrupt, and his apparent blindness to the web of connection between himself, his Chancellor of the Exchequere and various dubious characters in the ongoing phone-hacking investigation.

It was clear from the cross-examination at Leveson that Hunt regretted the hacking and corruption scandal engulfed Murdoch before he could have sweetened the takeover pill.  Colluding with James Murdoch to divest Sky News may not be conspiracy, but as the Labour MP Pat McFadden suggests, there may be criminal investigations around the Financial Services Act to contemplate if privileged information did leak out from Government.

Meanwhile, we now have the self-styled Chairman of the Party, Baroness Warsi, facing calls for police investigation of her alleged failures to abide by the law regarding expenses, as well as facing internal Parliamentary investigation.  Nobody suggested that David Laws's bizarre behaviour was criminal, yet his resignation was accepted immediately.  Warsi remains in office, and in Cabinet, despite being unelected and subject to the kind of challenge that would make an honourable person consider whether they are capable of discharging their duties and receiving public money for the purpose.

Cameron came to the Coalition clean-faced and with the declared intention of "listening" to the requirement for cleaning-up the political system.  Yeah, right.

Since the election the aim has been to make noises about reform and transparency while heading off in the opposite direction.  Crony capitalism, on the Blair model, is being promoted through the constant mantra of out-sourcing and the hatred of the public sector - removing democratic accountability and making politicians and officials even more opaque in their actions.  The relationship between Hunt and Murdoch is not seen as abhorrent but the kind of "business-friendly" policies that should be promoted.

It is increasingly difficult not to see conspiracies everywhere.  Cable's slightly-excessive but viscerally-right condemnation of Murdoch smacks even more of a set-up - its exposure by the Tory Right's house journal it looks much more as though its timing could have been part of an orchestrated campaign rather unfortunate coincidence.  Hunt and Murdoch stood to benefit; subsequent events, including totally improper communications between News Corp and a Government department, do nothing to dampen the paranoid antennae.

Cameron is now resorting to sophistry, the last refuge of the scoundrel.  Whether or not there have been technical breaches of the Ministerial Code, let alone the law of the land, he presides over a Cabinet where there is the stink of misconduct.  Previous, pre-Thatcher Tories would have recognised that this represents an unacceptable stain upon the political system and acted to lance the boil.  Instead he stands behind the charlatans and spivs, hoping that instead of probity that something else turns up to save his skin.

This is typical of the current misdirection of Government - the separation between the legislature, executive and judiciary enshrined in both the French and American constitutions.  We have Ministers who are either too thick or too arrogant to distinguish between their political role and their function within legislation, and who get hacked off when this is pointed out to them.  They presume not to understand that the electorate has the right to expect standards from them.

Cameron presides over this, with apparent uninterest.  This is probably because the political system is now skewed in favour of thwarting the popular will rather than expressing it - the captive nature of the political system and the low-calibre individuals who are steered into it by a combination of arrogance, biddability and incapability of doing anything else combine.  He is the typical patrician crony, much happier when with people of his own type whose amorality and compliance don't pose too many challenges.

In a world where independence and respect were valued, this would result in at least an uprising if not a revolution.  Impeachment, demonstrations and removal from office should follow.  Now Cameron is trying to brief out that if the Liberals vote against Hunt it will be a gross act of personal disloyalty.

This is the most specious crap he has yet produced.  Nowhere in the Coalition agreement is there a requirement to support corruption, incompetence and the destruction of governmental reputation.  If Hunt is a casualty, and hopefully the first of many, then it will be a victory for Parliament against the Cabinet, no more, no less.  The Liberals should either abstain, if soiled by Cabinet rank, or vote in favour of a genuine clean-up of Parliament.

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