(not satire – it’s the Tories!)
David Cameron has been caught red-handed wining and dining corporate lobbyists:
This is particularly awkward for Cameron because in the run up to the last election, he gave a speech in which he promised to bring transparency to lobbying:
“It is the next big scandal waiting to happen, the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money. We all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, helping big business find the right way to get its way. We must be the party that sorts all this out.”
Which is probably why the Tories have now deleted* the speech from their website.
Never mind. Because you can still read Cameron’s full speech here and decide for yourself whether this could win first prize for the best example of jaw dropping hypocrisy from Cameron yet:
‘Rebuilding Trust in Politics’ by David Cameron
“Now we all know that expenses has dominated politics for the last year. But if anyone thinks that cleaning up politics means dealing with this alone and then forgetting about it, they are wrong. Because there is another big issue that we can no longer ignore.
It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.
I’m talking about lobbying – and we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way. In this party, we believe in competition, not cronyism. We believe in market economics, not crony capitalism. So we must be the party that sorts all this out.
Now, I want to be clear: it’s not just big business that gets involved in lobbying. Charities and other organisations, including trade unions, do it too. What’s more, when it’s open and transparent, when people know who is meeting who, for what reason and with what outcome, lobbying is perfectly reasonable.
It’s important that businesses, charities and other organisations feel they can make sure their voice is heard. And indeed, lobbying often makes for better, more workable, legislation. But I believe that it is increasingly clear that lobbying in this country is getting out of control.
Today it is a £2 billion industry that has a huge presence in Parliament. The Hansard Society has estimated that some MPs are approached over one hundred times a week by lobbyists. Much of the time this happens covertly.
We don’t know who is meeting whom. We don’t know whether any favours are being exchanged. We don’t know which outside interests are wielding unhealthy influence. This isn’t a minor issue with minor consequences. Commercial interests – not to mention government contracts – worth hundreds of billions of pounds are potentially at stake.
I believe that secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics. It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest.
We can’t go on like this. I believe it’s time we shone the light of transparency on lobbying in our country and forced our politics to come clean about who is buying power and influence.
Politics should belong to people, not big business or big unions, and we need to sort this out. So if we win the election, we will take a lead on this issue by making sure that ex-ministers are not allowed to use their contacts and knowledge – gained while being paid by the public to serve the public – for their own private gain.”
(with thanks to spinwatch.org)
*Permanently deleting stuff from the internet is not as easy as you might think. The Tories went to some trouble to do it. For the more technically minded, here is how they did it.
Please feel free to comment. And share the speech Cameron doesn’t want you to see. Thanks: