It’s endemic worldwide
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.