Monday, 18 July 2011

Our filthily corrupt public servants

The Chief Executive of Suffolk Council gets free flights, subsistence and holiday accommodation in the US from BT, a big employer in the County. This is corrupt. The Commissioner of the Met gets £12,000 of free accommodation at a country house health spa. This is corrupt. Civil service mandarins get free centre court tickets and other corporate freebies from Crapita, Serco, G4 and the rest of the corporate giants. This is corrupt. Generals and senior defence procurement officials get lavish hospitality and entertainment from the arms companies. This is corrupt. Senior NHS managers are treated to top West End shows and champagne suppers by drugs companies. This is corrupt. In fact, this corrosive corruption is pervasive throughout the most senior echelons of our public services - I can't think of a single public body that is exempt. Even the discredited Audit Commission had a history of senior bosses taking corporate freebies. 


As the CPS says in the forward to its guidance on prosecutions for corruption;
Bribery and corruption are extremely serious offences, which strike at the heart of public confidence in administrative and judicial affairs. This factor alone will weigh heavily when considering the public interest in prosecuting and a prosecution will be expected unless exceptional factors apply.
Fine. Yes. Agree. So why isn't the CPS jailing scores of senior mandarins, generals, chief constables and NHS bosses for this rampant and naked corruption? Well, you won't be surprised to learn that most prosecutions for corruption can only be authorised by the Attorney General in person - and you can be sure he is strongly weighted to blocking any action against his peers. In 1916 the law was even changed to make prosecution for corruption of a public servant simple, without the burden of the Crown having to prove corrupt intent. Again you won't be surprised to learn that "The Government has indicated that this law will be repealed when the law is reformed." Ho yes of course; some senior mandarin jealous of his Wimbledon tickets from Crapita will have seen to that. 


Not only are the bastards riddled with corruption, they've even rigged the law to prevent their own prosecution. And we thought Berlusconi was the corrupt one. 

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Chief Executive of Suffolk Council gets free flights, subsidence... Why? Do they need underpinning? ;-)

Petr said...

Right to the point, as ever. Just one thing - you didn't mention that BT isn't *just* a big employer but a partner with the County Council and one District Council in a provider of back office services. That partnership has cost huge amounts of Council Tax - well over initial estimates. No wonder BT are happy to splash the cash at the (former) Chief Exec.

Raedwald said...

Thanks anon - now corrected

Barnacle Bill said...

The more one learns about the goings on in this country, which is due to the good work of people like yourself young Raedwald blogging it, the more one comes to see this land as the same as France just before the Reign of Terror.
Unfortunately I can't see us applying the French solution to this corruption!

Blue Eyes said...

What really grates is that the corruption of the top tier civil servants is endemic and apparently out of reach of the law but people lower down in these organisations get treated like shit and can get fired for so much as speaking out about it. At least we are beginning to find out why so much of the public money boom disappeared without services improving.

I think a popular policy now would be to build some more prisons!

Gallovidian said...

Corruption in public office is a rot that destroys all else. It is inimical to democracy and the rule of law.

And who are the corrupters?

Anonymous said...

Lots of big accusations! Can we get the reference links of evidence for more than the BT case please. Otherwise all of this rather good article is essentiay made up

Thanks, @thenextpm

Anonymous said...

Naturally, as night follows day, they'll change the law, the modern apparat sees nothing wrong in using his influence to feather his nest, freebies are par for the course - of course!

Integrity has gone walkabout, it is frowned upon, somebody who is honest does not go far in any echelon of government these days.
A bloke with his fingers in the till, as he [like shit] rises to the surface, will not surround himself with men of moral fibre, still less honesty.
Thus, the sleaze becomes self perpetuating, but with role models such as Barosso - who is the very embodiment of corruption - there's little chance of probity re-entering the public sphere.

In today's Britain, the embezzlers, backsheesh merchants, snake oil pedlars, liars, fraudsters and conmen suffuse government, to cleanse these scumbags would truly be a Herculean task and it ain't gonna happen.

Very concerned citizen said...

Possibly the single most important political trend in Britain today is that the public is steadily losing confidence in the institutions of authority. It is already widely assumed that all MPs are crooks and liars. But the media, the police, the judiciary, local councils and civil servants are all viewed with increasing suspicion. The Church of England is no longer taken seriously. The EU was never very popular in the first place, and the more people learn about it the less they like it. So there is an increasingly widespread cynicism about the motives and competence of almost everybody in authority.

The only exceptions are the monarchy and the armed forces. But the monarchy has no real power, and attitudes could change pretty quickly if Prince Charles continues to meddle in political issues once he becomes King. Even the armed forces could see their standing fall if the relentless cuts in defence spending turn them from a symbol of British strength into a symbol of Britain's humiliating decline.

So Britain is heading towards a crisis of legitimacy of virtually all forms of established authority. The optimistic view is that this will create an opportunity for reform and renewal. The pessimistic view is that it will simply hasten the country's slide into authoritarianism as the elite scramble to protect themselves from public anger.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

"they" have been busying themselves over the years with mitigating the consequences of getting caught that have been put in place...

The surcharging of local councillors is now history - more is the pity....

I am presently bringing a case to Judicial Review - the primary mechanism we now have for bringing miscreant public bodies to heel... I'm being told that we can not expect to get our full costs.

Obviously as a complainant I have my perspective on the case but - having run it past quite a few folk - there is not one dissenting opinion about the fact that we have been 100% blameless apart from having the temerity to fill in a few forms and comply comprehensively with the conditions imposed by the government department in the matter.

We have been done unto in no uncertain terms, had no option whatsoever but to apply for Judicial Review and are now looking at a massive legal bill (>£100,000) for challenging the toxic and illegal behaviour of a government department. We are effectively being fined for standing up for ourselves and asking that officials actually obey the law...

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Have put forward my own views on this R and linked to yours.

john in cheshire said...

If the dross that infests our top posts doesn't get a grip and reintroduce some semblance of standards of behaviour in public service, then the rest of us will conclude that it is acceptable for us to choose which laws to obey and which to ignore. If a top police officer can receive £12k in perks, then why Can't I stop paying the bbc tv extortion licence, my road tax, import cheap petrol, give people a good kicking if I don't like them, smash up buildings etc. In other words, you choose the laws you ignore and I'll choose mine. What's the difference? But the press, the politicians and the police had better realise that there are much more dangerous people than me out there and they might not stop at benefitting themselves, they might just come looking for the so-called elite.

outsider said...

There is a genuine human nature problem here. Sir Paul was confident that his integrity would not be compromised by accepting corporate largess but you and I are suspicious. I am confident that I have never been corrupted by accepting corporate hospitality but you and Sir Paul would roll your eyes.

It is hard to lay down explicit detailed rules. Most organisations go through bouts of puritanism when a clear abuse turns up, only to relax them surreptitiously when they are shown to be impractical.

There is nothing wrong with going for a pint with a supplier/customer. It is all a matter of degree. Ultimately, it must come down to individual judgment, backed up by transparency and the answer to the question "Do you mind if the public/your boss/the tax inspector knows about this?".

The tone has to be set from the top. One boss I worked for used to happily accept gifts but the more extravagant would be raffled among the staff. A good example. Unfortunately, it is those at the top who seem to be most falsely confident of their own integrity.

tomsmith said...

Any corruption is in accepting bribes when employed on condition not to do so, not in offering them.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

On the matter of integrity, it's notable that these top coppers mostly took their "bonuses" apart from a few notable exceptions - perhaps we should look at those guys that refused the bonuses and set them in charge of the rest = a reasonable place to start with reform - "the refusers" displayed a smidgin of integrity and awareness of public perceeptions, unlike the majority of the up themselves conceited berks populating the higher echelons of out police forces.

TiDavisUSA said...

The criminals have decriminilizes themselves, yes? Made themselves immune to any repurcussions?
It would seem that no matter which political party you put into power there, nothing changes, right?
So therefore "voting the scoundrels out" then putting new ones into power is not working, correct?
Again I ask you this question. What are you going to do other than bitch about?