It’s en­demic world­wide

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & Markets -

THERE’S MUCH CON­CERN about the lev­els of cor­rup­tion in South Africa. But the de­gree of deep-seated out­right crook­ery in many de­vel­oped coun­tries – never mind what hap­pens in most emerg­ing mar­ket na­tions – shows SA isn’t re­motely unique.

Look, for ex­am­ple, at what’s hap­pen­ing in Bri­tain. We cor­rectly com­plain about the dis­grace­ful be­hav­iour of SA’s “Trav­el­gate” MPs and all the other par­lia­men­tar­i­ans who con­spired to let them go free. But what about Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Gor­don Brown, who promised two years ago (when he took over from Tony Blair) to end po­lit­i­cal “sleaze, greed and dis­hon­esty”?

In com­plete con­flict with that pledge, Brown has backed a mo­tion in the House of Com­mons ex­clud­ing MPs from the pro­vi­sions of their own Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act. That means, cru­cially, all de­tails of ex­penses claims by MPs will be kept se­cret.

Op­po­si­tion Con­ser­va­tive Party leader David Cameron has taken a strongly op­pos­ing view.

No­body sug­gests that Brown – a car­i­ca­ture of the “dour Scots­man” – is per­son­ally on the take. But his vote on the ex­penses is­sue patently sug­gests he thinks many of his Labour Party MPs can’t say the same.

Nor, doubt­less, can many Tory MPs. But Cameron isn’t try­ing to shel­ter them.

Fur­ther, the Lon­don Sun­day Times re­ports that four named-and-shamed Labour life peers in the “re­formed” House of Lords have ad­mit­ted ac­cept­ing large sums of money in re­turn for back­ing amend­ments to var­i­ous ar­eas of leg­is­la­tion.

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