But the real corruption that has eaten into the heart of British public life is the tightening corporate grip on government and public institutions – not just by lobbyists, but by the politicians, civil servants, bankers and corporate advisers who increasingly swap jobs, favours and insider information, and inevitably come to see their interests as mutual and interchangeable. The doors are no longer just revolving but spinning, and the people charged with protecting the public interest are bought and sold with barely a fig leaf of regulation.And what of the European Commission and the European Parliament, where the merger has not only gone further but is increasingly more explicit? A Europe run for the huge corporations by the huge corporations, with national governments bought and sold and free market competition crushed?
It defies rationality to believe that the prospect of far better paid jobs in the private sector doesn't influence the decisions of ministers and officials – or isn't used by corporations to shape policy. Who can seriously doubt that politicians were encouraged to champion light touch regulation before the crash by the lure and lobbying of the banks, as well as by an overweening ideology?
Britain is now an increasingly corrupt country at its highest levels – not in the sense of directly bribing officials, of course, and it's almost entirely legal. But our public life and democracy is now profoundly compromised by its colonisation. Corporate and financial power have merged into the state.
Hey ho. Maybe they'll discover a use for the wheel next week.