Sunday, March 15, 2015

Corruption must be an issue in 2015 General Election

Corruption is like rot in an ill-kept apple. It spreads. Therefore if corruption appears or is growing in a State it must be eliminated sooner rather than later.

Is the British State corrupt? Yes. The evidence? We have had 17 incidents of corruption over the past quarter century. One every 18months.  Of which the MP expenses scandal was only one.

On top of this, there is the cultural normality of corporate hospitality, lobbying, directorships, political donations, and last but not least, the hiding of child abuse by VIPs. 

All six of these factors work against the grain of democracy. If we are to have a real, healthy democracy, we need to incise this abscess and let the pus out.

Incision of abscesses is not difficult. It can be a bit painful, but the short, sharp pain of incision can avoid a much longer, deeper pain that can even threaten life.

So in this general election, we all need to demand the necessary reforms needed to get rid of the corruption that exists under the smooth pink skin of the Westminster Establishment.

Let us ask our parliamentary candidates how they intend to get rid of the corruption that is endemic in the Palace of Westminster.
And let us also, after the election, hold them to their promises.

In 5 days I will post a full review evidencing the corruption that runs throughout Wesminster like the veins in blue cheese.

9 comments:

Ghost Whistler said...

I agree entirely, however the conduct of the Greens in Bristol has been extremely disheartening. While it isn't per se corruption, how do you feel regarding their complicity in the cuts and austerity foisted on the city by Ferguson or by central government with Ferguson's approval. The latest announcment, from Daniella Radice no less, is the 'heavy hearted' plan to axe seven libraries.

If even the Greens can't find it in themselves to reject these schemes, including 90mn £ of cuts then how are people to feel there is anything other than corruption and collusion in government?

Richard Lawson said...

GW, what would you have the Greens do in this situation? Resign? And hand over their places to Tories who would delight in implementing more savage cuts? Or what?

Ghost Whistler said...

Firstly, to be seen to reject the cuts is a clear statement to potential voters. It shows integrity and courage, surely? That has to be worth something.

If the Tories are going to implement these cuts anyway then what is lost by at worst symbolically resisting them? I just do not understand the logic of at best being seen to support them. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and just further muddies the reputation of politicians and councillors, especially those who are receiving £32k a year on top of their salary for being in cabinet with the likes of George Ferguson.

This is a man who's more concerned with building his legacy, an arena, than providing for the people. How can something like that be a priority over protecting people from the Bedroom Tax?

I'm not suggesting that someone like Daniella resign, but, as a member of the cabinet, stand up and be counted.

Richard Lawson said...

We can all give a clear statement about how we feel about austerity.

Greens have fought long and hard to get into the positions where they can actually represent the people of an area. You are asking them to relinquish those positions - to make a statement?

The costs are going to be imposed come what may. If Milibean gets in there will still be cuts.

If Greens were in Govt we would avoid austerity by culling white elephants, stimulating the green sector of the economy, taxing the 1% and bringing fractional reserve banking back, with govt issuing grant money for infrastructure investment.

But we're not in Government, We have a few positions in Local Government, where we are learning the ropes.

And you want us to walk away in order to "make a statement". I'm sorry, I don't get it.

Ghost Whistler said...

I'm not asking them to relinquish them, I'm saying they need to stand up for themselves and the values we want to see in society. If they can't or won't do that then what is the point?

The greens in cabinet abstained in Februrary's budget vote. A budget which is set to cut almost a hundred million from the city. How can abstention be justified at a time like this? Why was a decision like that taken? There must be a great many members of the party dismayed at the actions of those representing them.

(source, webcast: http://www.bristol.public-i.tv/core/share/open/webcast/0/0/560/160182/160182/webcast/start_time/21548000)

Gus Hoyt has also sided with Ferguson to lift exemptions for those suffering under the Bedroom Tax.

"At the beginning of the meeting councillors raised concerns about a statement submitted to the committee by Green Party councillor Rob Telford saying the call-in was “immature and ignorant” as all councillors should have faith in the cross-party working group.

He said the call-in was a “nakedly political attempt to publicly deride an assistant mayor [Mr Hoyt]” ."

(source:http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Decision-axe-bedroom-tax-evictions-policy-sent/story-20576835-detail/story.html)

What message does that send when a Green party councillor advocates this hideous tax? If he's not prepared to unequivocally oppose such a vile idea then, again, what is the point?

In my view it is no good to side with the axemen and the architects of austerity. This is not the way forward. I accept that the ultimate decisions are central and that the Tories are ultimately to blame. But the actions of the Greens in Bristol council fall deeply short of what I would expect and do not send a positive message to prospective Green voters, particularly at a time of political corruption and opportunism.

I wish it were not so.

Rob Telford said...

Hi Ghost Whistler

I thought I would respond to your points in turn.

1) We are not complicit in austerity/cuts. We have voted against the budget in the last three years, so please get your facts right.

2) We aren't axing any libraries. Please keep up. In fact, it was Daniella Radice who has ensured the Mayor doesn't make these cuts. That's a pretty good return when you consider it was £1.1m.

3) Cabinet members receive £22k in addition to their salary. So wrong again, unfortunately. I personally think that's too high as well, but we don't control how much people get paid. YET.

4) The Arena is a good project and it will bring in revenue to the city. The bedroom tax is a centrally imposed, pernicious policy by the Coalition government. When Gus Hoyt was the Assistant Mayor, he mitigated the effects of it by taking advice in a cross-party, multi-agency working group. So far, no one in Bristol has been evicted as a result of the bedroom tax. That's a Green legacy in local government.

5) We did NOT abstain from the budget. We voted against it. Please get your facts right.

6) Gus Hoyt actively and openly spoke against the bedroom tax throughout the process. Please pay attention, and get your facts right.

I'm glad all that is now clear, and you can retract all your statements and start looking into what is REALLY going on with local government. The Greens AREN'T to blame.

Richard Lawson said...

Thank you very much, Rob

Ghost Whistler said...

Hello Rob, thank you for replying.

1. I believe my facts are in order; I provided a link to the webcast of the voting session wherein it can be clearly seen who voted and how. I am more than happy to be corrected if you can show that I have made a mistake. But the evidence, to my eyes, is pretty clear.

I understand that there might be matters where a councillor, on an issue of conscience perhaps, might be entitled to argue in favour of abstaining. But I don't see how that can be the case with respect to the budget. To abstain seems utterly self defeating.

2. As I said, it has only just been announced that the library decision has been postponed. That doesn't mean it has been resolved either.

"Assistant Mayor Daniela Radice who is in charge of the library service, said: "It is horrible to close any library because we know they are so much-loved.

"But this is the horror of austerity. We have to face up to the reality that there will be more cuts but we want to provide a good library service.""

(source: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Seven-Bristol-libraries-risk-closure-staff-lose/story-26069212-detail/story.html)

That does not seem to square with your claim she has prevented their closure. All after a costly consultation exercise.

3. If the figure is £22k not 32 then I am happy to stand corrected. However the point remains: it is a considerable inducement. If the Green councillors reject austerity why are they doing nothing about it? Why was Gus Hoyt agreeing with a report to end the policy of no evictions? That cannot be the best you can do, surely?

What message does that send?

4. In more affluent times there might be an argument for an arena. But when the budget is being decimated to push such an idea, a vanity project for the mayor, is ill advised. When support for a policy of non evictions is being withdrawn how can spending money on an arena be reasonable?

5. See above. You personally did abstain sir, the vote is on video. It is a matter of record and I have provided the link.

6. Gus Hoyt included, as reasons for deciding to scrap the no eviction policy the following statements:

“it is not easy to distinguish between an inability to pay as a result of the introduction of the bedroom tax and inability to pay as a result of other circumstances”

which makes no sense at all.

“unfair and would affect the services of those tenants, often on low incomes, who do pay”.

So it is fair to be unfair? Again this is nonsensical.

People are suffering because of this tax and this cannot be good enough.

I'm afraid I will not be retracting my statements. I am more than happy to consider evidence that disproves what I have said, which I have supported with evidence.

Rob Telford said...

1) We vote twice on the budget. The part you are referring to is the capital budget - which you cannot ethically/properly endorse if you are voting against the revenue budget. We voted against the revenue budget, a few minutes before on the webcast.

2) It is irrelevant to the case of whether she prevented their closure. She did. Believe me or not, but she stepped in and stopped what was happening.

3) Yes, it is a considerable inducement, but then Assistant Mayors have considerable responsibility.

We are not doing nothing about austerity, we are talking about it at every opportunity we get. We voted against the budget. That is not "nothing", so you're plainly wrong.

On "no evictions" - it's a fairly false premise. In other councils, they have had a "no evictions" policy but people have still been evicted. In Bristol, we took advice that a "no evictions" policy might encourage people who can afford rent to not pay it. This was advice given by housing professionals. Bristol has not evicted ANYONE as a result of the bedroom tax, which is a lot better than many other local authorities.

4) There's no money needed to stop evictions due to the bedroom tax, simply a decision not to do it. I can see your point on an Arena, but it will bring a lot of additional revenue into the city.

5) Answered this already.

6) I've answered this as well.