George Carlin – The big club.
A new report by Transparency International UK (TI UK) reveals lobby groups can exploit dozens of loopholes for their own gains. The TI UK report says there are nearly 40 loopholes that can “open the door to corrupt activity” in British political institutions. The report released on Sunday said British citizens still “have little opportunity to understand who is lobbying whom, for what purpose and with what funds.” A watered-down Lobbying Bill became law last year, but critics complained this defines only 1 percent of lobbyists and lacks clarity over what “direct contact” with a minister or permanent secretary really means. Now John Paterson, a London-based political commentator, believes lobbyists have a high influence on many top officials in the country. “Very senior politicians in the government are controlled because of money they are taking,” he told Press TV’s UK Desk on Sunday. Paterson also made reference to cases of official scandals and noted that lobbyists use their clout over politicians through money and information they gain on them. The latest report, dubbed Lifting the Lid on Lobbying, says major party donors can be offered peerages through these loopholes and that there is no requirement on lobbyists to declare spending on gifts and hospitality to public officials, etc. A recent TI UK survey shows some three in five Britons believe the government is “entirely” or “to a large extent” run by a few big entities acting in their own best interests. According to the Independent, Britain has the world’s third biggest lobbying industry, worth an estimated £2bn.