The squeamish should look away now. With ‘Murdochgate’ ongoing, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has exposed further rotten sleaze at the top of government with claims from Bell Pottinger, a ‘lobbying’ outfit, that they could sell access to prime minister David Cameron, foreign secretary William Hague and other top Tories.
The noxious gases around parliament frequently create such stinky explosions. In February we learned that over half the Tories’ funding came from banking. This month the Mirror reports that: “Out of £2.8 million donated in the three months to October, 60% came from firms and individuals linked to finance, hedge funds, property and other City activities.”
And now, somewhat expectedly, yet another Tory pledge has hit the deck. Five years ago Cameron preposterously proffered a declaration of intent to “tackle lobbying”. In 2010 he tried to sell it again. In November the Guardian exposed the hundreds of lobbyists making free with the Houses of Parliament, from oil multinationals to abortion campaigners. In October we endured the downfall of disgraced defence minister Liam Fox. It’s unsurprising that many suffer from outrage overload.
According to the Independent that broke the Bell Pottinger story, Tim Collins, managing director of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, said to undercover BIJ reporters: “I’ve been working with people like Steve Hilton [Tory ‘director of strategy’], David Cameron, George Osborne for 20 years-plus. There is not a problem getting the messages through.”
Collins’ colleague David Wilson is reported to have boasted that the firm was the “most powerful public affairs business in the country”. In the BIJ ‘sting’ it is claimed that Bell Pottinger worked hard for the government of Sri Lanka to “balance” out the accurate reports produced by Channel 4 about the recent war and its aftermath in Sri Lanka which saw tens of thousands of Tamil-speaking people brutally massacred.
The Con-Dems’ open invite to multinational corporations to have input into policies on health, food, etc are a logical conclusion of their slavish adoration of the profiteers. This undermining of the democratic process is supplemented by plans to cut the number of MPs by 500 and cut services that ensure enrolment on the voting register.
They must be replaced by those who will actually represent us. We demand workers’ MPs on a worker’s wage, who are subject to recall. That requires building a new mass workers’ party, a class-struggle party.
With the determined mood on N30 combined with disgust at a Labour leadership that failed to offer support to strikers or any real opposition to the Con-Dems – this will now be the logical conclusion drawn by an increasing number of those involved in the fightback.
See www.tusc.org.uk for more on standing a trade unionist and socialist challenge in elections.