*** Western "democracy" is a pretence put on by ruling elite to deceive the public, and politics is corrupt to the core. These facts are clearly demonstrated by recent events in the UK. A "democracy" is not controlled by votes, or by voters -- the ordinary working people who pay the wages of their elected representatives and bloated civil service through extortionate taxes. That is an illusion, a charade. In reality, local and national government are controlled by wealthy individuals and corporations -- anybody who has enough money to buy influence. The most striking recent example is provided by Stephen Byers, a serving MP who was a senior cabinet minister in Tony Blair's government. Byers was filmed boasting to an undercover reporter about how he conspired with his corporate paymasters and government ministers to help the company and deceive the public about it. A government official pretended to criticize the company in public, while in reality taking decisions that the company wanted -- it's a pantomime. This is the reality of how a democratic government operates. The ruling elite are proud of it. Always remember, we the ordinary people are paying their wages, they work for us! They should not be lying to us. A drastic change is urgently needed... ***
British government is controlled by lobbying by the powerful, through blatant corruption
Revealed: Labour’s cash for influence scandal
[In fact, this scandal is not limited to the Labour party. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Times along with many other major media outlets, is openly backing the opposition party in the coming general election.]
A FORMER Labour cabinet minister has boasted about how he used his government contacts to change policies in favour of businesses.
Stephen Byers, former trade and transport secretary, was secretly recorded offering himself “like a sort of cab for hire” for up £5,000 a day. He also suggested bringing Tony Blair to meet clients.
He was among several politicians recorded by an undercover reporter posing as a company executive looking to hire MPs for lobbying work.
The others included:
- Patricia Hewitt, a former health secretary, who claimed she helped to obtain a key seat on a government advisory group for a client paying her £3,000 a day.
- Geoff Hoon, the former defence secretary, offered to lead delegations to ministers and told the reporter that he was looking to turn his knowledge and contacts into “something that frankly makes money”. He said he charged £3,000 a day.
- Margaret Moran, the Luton MP who was forced to pay back £22,500 in expenses, boasted that she could ring a “girls’ gang” of colleagues on behalf of clients. Among those she named were: Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary; Hazel Blears, the former communities secretary; and Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour party.
The interviews were part of a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme in which 13 Labour MPs and seven Conservatives were approached.
The disclosures will raise questions about the relationship between the large number of MPs leaving parliament next month and their contacts who remain in government. It comes after David Cameron, the Conservative leader, last month said that lobbying was the next political scandal waiting to happen.
Byers, who held three cabinet portfolios from 1998 to 2002, gave specific examples of how he claimed he had changed government policy by lobbying his cabinet friends.
He claimed to have struck a secret deal with Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, last year on behalf of National Express, which he said was seeking to jettison a loss-making East Coast rail franchise without penalties. Byers said: “We agreed with Andrew ... he would be publicly very critical of National Express” as long as he agreed terms which favoured the company. The decision to terminate the franchise in July last year left a burden on the taxpayer of hundreds of millions of pounds.
Byers also claimed he could use his friendship with Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, as his “trump card” to squash government plans that did not suit his clients.
On one occasion Byers says he phoned Mandelson to put a stop to “massively bureaucratic” food labelling regulations after he had been contacted by Tesco. “Peter got it delayed and then got it amended,” Byers said. He also boasted he could get confidential information from Downing Street and could help firms which were price-fixing to get around the law.
On Friday Byers issued a statement saying that he had “exaggerated” his claims and had retracted them the day after the meeting in an email. Tesco denied any deal.
Lord Adonis and National Express denied there was any deal. However, a source close to Richard Bowker, who was chief executive at the time, said that the Byers version given to the undercover reporter was “pretty accurate”.
Hewitt offered a service helping clients to influence legislation. “If you’ve got a client who needs a particular regulation removed, then we can often package that up [for a minister],” she said.
On Friday Hewitt issued a statement saying she was offering to do the work only after she left the Commons. “I am always willing to give advice to companies who have something positive to offer our country,” she said.
Hoon revealed that he had already been offered a chairmanship of a foreign defence firm for an “embarrassing” amount of money. While making clear that he did not want a job that was predominantly lobbying, he offered to find out information on the defence policy from civil servants and said he would introduce fee-paying clients to ministers.
On Friday a lawyer for Hoon said his comments had been misrepresented and he denied ever offering to give confidential information.
The Times, "Revealed: Labour’s cash for influence scandal", 21 March 2010.
Daily Mail, "Government accused of 'cover-up' over 'cash for access' scandal after No 10 refuses to launch investigation", 23 March 2010.
Daily Mail, "Britain’s voters betrayed by lobby power", 27 March 2010.
Daily Mail, "MPs and Peers run private company selling 'influence over Government policy' as multinationals pay to join parliamentary IT lobby group", 27 March 2010.
A disgraced Labour MP has boasted she used a private company based at the Commons to change immigration policy to allow cheap workers to be brought in from India.
Daily Mail, "Public life is so corrupt I fear no one can clean up Blair's legacy of sleaze", 24 March 2010.
"The Insider" mailing list article, 21 March 2010.
Tags: politics, corruption, influence, access, democracy, corrupt, lobby, lobbying, lobbygate, , conspiracy theories.