Bought Politicians 276

Between just 28 May and 10 June Boris Johnson received £235,500 in “private” donations, to himself personally, as he prepares to become the UK’s unelected Prime Minister.

The blatant corruption of the UK’s political system is part of the reason for popular alienation from the ruling classes. It was Blair who elevated British politics to US levels of shamelessness in the matter of politicians’ self enrichment, and Johnson looks set to follow the Blair example. While some may pretend to do so, I do not accept that there is anybody who is naive enough genuinely to believe that such donations do not influence politicians’ policy decisions.

Straight donations aside, the slightly disguised corruption of our political system should also be taken into account. The banks put politicians in their pockets not through direct payments, but through massive, often six figure, fees they pay them for “speaking at dinners”. That is how Hillary Clinton garnered much of her Wall Street funding. In the case of Boris Johnson, it is interesting that in the House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests, he frequently lists the name of the speaking agency who paid him, but not who the client was.

Another way to pay less obvious bribes – and one particularly pursued by New Labour – was the book deal, where publishers pay massive six figure advances to politicians which are, routinely, up to ten times the actual royalties earned for which they are an “advance”. This only makes sense when you realise that every single one of the major publishers is owned by a much bigger multinational – for example until recently Murdoch owned HarperCollins.

James Reuben, who gave two donations totaling £50,000 to Johnson, is the scion of the UK’s second wealthiest family, worth £18 billion. The Reubens made their money, like Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, in the pillaging of Russia’s massive metal producing assets, which were physically seized by gangsters, in the chaotic US organised Yeltsin privatisation process. The entire basis of their vast fortune was the exploitation of assets effectively stolen from the Russian state and people.

There is a fascinating link here to New Labour corruption that shows how entirely rotten Westminster is. Many will recall Peter Mandelson’s famous meeting with Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild on the yacht in Corfu, at a house party where George Osborne was also around. The full story has never appeared in mainstream media, so far as I can judge.

Deripaska had been involved with the Reubens in Russia’s “privatised” aluminum market, and in 2008 was also involved in business with Nat Rothschild. Putin was determined to try to claw back some control of precious commodity markets from the oligarchs who had plundered them, and he started to lean on Deripaska, in ways which were quite threatening, to make some hefty repayment. Nat Rothschild had obligations to Deripaska which the oligarch was trying urgently to call in, and this process required the sale of shares in (if I remember correctly) Canadian or US aluminium companies. The big obstacle to this raising the needed money to get back to Putin was the high EU tariff on aluminium.

By one of those wonderful coincidences which make life so joyous, happily Peter Mandelson was, absolutely independent of the meeting on the yacht or his own relationship with Nat Rothschild, persuaded of the need for the EU to reduce aluminium tariffs and as UK Trade Minister and then EU Trade Commissioner was able to secure very large reductions in EU aluminium tariffs indeed. So they all lived happily ever after.

Isn’t that nice? And even nicer, Mandelson is now a paid adviser to Deripaska on climate change.

So Boris Johnson’s donations and Mandelson’s dealings all link in to the pillaging of Russia’s formerly state run metals industry, which legalised theft accounts for a dozen of the world’s wealthiest billionaires and a high proportion of its political corruption.

I want Scottish Independence to try to set up a smaller, more manageable national entity in which corruption can be better reduced, (and sadly it will never be eliminated). I find the insider knowledge I have from my days as a British Ambassador and from the connections I then made, weighs horribly heavy upon me. If I knew less, I guess I would be less sad and less cynical.

It has become my firm belief that the destruction of the UK state by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, and the purging of the financial cesspit that is London by Jeremy Corbyn, are both essential to human progress.


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276 thoughts on “Bought Politicians

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  • Bob

    In my time in the civil service and then the NHS I lost count of the number of freebies colleagues accepted. One Chief Exec I worked with was treated to a day out at Wimbledon by a leading telecoms company who got the hump when the tender committee I chaired awarded a contract to another company. The said Chief Exec asked us to explain ourselves. On another occasion another chief exec asked why I had not accepted tickets for a Twickenham 6 nations match. In fact I had told the company involved that they could come and see me in my office. The CEO thought I should have accepted the hospitality as ‘that is the way things are done’. I could quote hundreds more examples from my 35 years of public service but my point is, and Craig should know this, it is not just the politicians with their snouts in the trough. Had Craig played the game (so glad he didn’t) he would have got his K and a healthy income from being a non exec on any number of boards. I just can’t see a way in which this corrupt gravy train can be slowed down, let alone stopped.

    • craig Post author

      Yes that’s absolutely true. I had a moment today when I couldn’t afford to pay for something, and then was reminded of a couple of (ahem) not especially talented contemporaries in the FCO who played the game and are now multi millionaires in the banking sector. Oh well – at least I can hope people will remember me well.

      • Ros Thorpe

        They will indeed. You didn’t sell your soul to any of the many devils that beset is now. Interesting that their puppets look ever more stupid.

      • Bob

        Being remembered well is also my hope. The damnation of it all is that it is self perpetuating. New civil servants, new MPs etc all get told it is ok and how to record it all. Standing against it as a junior exec officer is career limiting at best. It is why I believe that there are very few with integrity in public life but I also believe in Karma. Ironically when I did get a few promotions, many thought I must have been playing the game.

        • Doodlebug

          “Standing against it as a junior exec officer is career limiting at best.”

          Curiously, hair follicles mirror the human condition. Hair transplants are apparently jeopardized by the communication between cells on the scalp, where a healthy follicle, suddenly finding itself amidst dormant cousins in a bald patch, will conform, and cease growing.

      • Ross

        There comes a point when corruption is so banal and humdrum, that it bores people to the point of utter apathy. As a consequence we now live in a political climate in which it is merely accepted as a fact of life that the rich and powerful will buy political favours.

        ‘Investments’ made as political donations have a spectacular record of delivering returns to the donors. Political favours due are an asset class.

        • Sharp Ears

          Seconded. CM is NOT a moral pygmy and never will be. Long may his rum leek.

          • Iain Stewart

            Indeed, but I believe a more usual expression is “long may his bum keech”.

      • Goose

        They should, but the media don’t give you credit even when proved correct. Deceit and distortion are so widespread, invariably when your name is mentioned these days, it’s alongside words like ‘crank’ and ‘conspiracy theorist’.

        Someone ought to produce a guide to current MSM distortion speak.

        Conspiracy theorist – anyone who bothers to take a moment to question an official narrative.

        Populist or populism – any individual or party that advocates policies that deviate to any degree from the very narrow, right-wing neoliberal path and orthodoxies.

      • Squeeth

        The cleanest money on earth is the money you don’t have. By walking away from bent money I threw away two careers (slow learner) and saved my soul. I don’t owe anyone money and can occasionally give some away, which feels rather good.

    • N_

      People need to talk about it in public more, so that the officials in Britain can be seen more generally as the moneygrabbing corrupt filth that they are.

      Who even talks about dentists? Or solicitors? Those hundred-lie-a-day types.

      Some “head teachers” at “multi-academy trust” groups of state schools are rebranding themselves as “chief executives” and trousering £300K per year.

      Governance is all about contracts. The message should be “You know those men and women who you’re supposed to think are better than you, or who hold ‘public responsibilities’? Well they’re lying cheating corrupt filth.”

      Only when that starts to be recognised more will we be getting somewhere. Gotta upturn the social pyramid. Few on the left have the slightest clue.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      we’ll I knew of a public official caught with his trousers down with hookers in a UK regions hotels who happily awarded contracts up to around £10m to those whose links to MI6 and Langley meant they had inside info on all the snooping of hotel room activity that goes on.

      I can inform you of leading London Russsell Group HEIs who miraculously got hold of confidential consultancy I carried out for a NW of England client and made a ham fisted job of claiming they had exactly the same idea within a month of my final invoice being submitted. If you think top Professors are not spying and stealing with alacrity, stop being an ostrich.

      I can inform you of millionaires who routinely expect £100k+ of free consultancy from job applicants with no intention of paying unsuccessful candidates for their time. They are very hot on morals when they are not hacking your home computers and tailing you in the evening by tracking your personal mobile, debit card etc etc.

      I could tell you a lot more than that, but it might get repetitive…

    • N_

      @Bob –

      I just can’t see a way in which this corrupt gravy train can be slowed down, let alone stopped.

      How do you feel about the idea of a “Molly Maguires” type of organisation, which a person in possession of such information could contact and which would then send two or three guys to hold a public official for half an hour or so, give him a damned good thrashing, and make an attempt to re-educate him a bit on camera?

      I mean something must be done. Every country is as corrupt as f*ck, and almost everywhere everybody knows it. But in Britain most have been mindcontrolled into believing that the very thought is an unspeakably naughty one to express in regard to their betters.

      • N_

        You gotta admit that these officials who swan around representing propriety and good order when they’re up to their sorry and filthy criminal necks in bribery and corruption deserve a damned good beating and public exposure, right?

      • N_

        The official could be thrashed while someone reads out his organisation’s equal opportunities policy or mission statement or something. It would make a great art work.

        • pete

          Have you not gone too far in proposing vigilante style justice and calling it art. I am beginning to suspect you have been adversely affected by the work of Hermann Nitcsh, he of the “Orgien Mysterien Theater”:
          I will always prefer reform before impromptu violence, whatever the financial outrage.

  • remember kronstadt

    A rather mean and resentful reaction to individuals giving money to causes they support which simply looks like jealousy. In the heaven on earth that will be the new independent Scotland I’m sure that you have already planned and are ready to implement open tax tax returns, bans on foreign and corporate donations and funding offices and posts for candidates and elected representatives. Thought not.

    • remember kronstadt

      Declarations of independence are an opportunity to set out new and fair laws and identify the causes of dissatisfaction. As seen in the US declaration of independence. This was their letter to the king… and haven’t some of these issues come home?

      He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

      He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

      He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.

      He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.

      He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.

      He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

      He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

      For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:

      For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

      For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:

      For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

      For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:

      For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pre-tended Offences:

      For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:

      For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our Governments:

      For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.

      He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

      He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

      He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a civilized Nation.

        • remember kronstadt

          It comes with the monarchy.. the whisperers. except this vintage who rather like the stage too much.

      • M.J.

        Is this the SNP complaining about the Tories or New Labour? Sorry, just kidding.

  • Edward Spalton

    There is, of course, the “revolving door” which has created very well paid later careers for politicians and officials who have laid down the burden of their public office. People who have awarded large public contracts to suppliers spend a year with their inflation-proof pensions. Then they return in glory as directors or consultants of those contractors to promote them to their successors in office. Not a word need be said but it is obvious to civil servants and politicians that, if they play their cards right, a lucrative career in later life is open. So it cascades from one generation to the next- all strictly legal. Private Eye is one of the very few publications which follows this story

  • remember kronstadt

    Good news from ‘Open Democracy’ and on topic

    Dear friend of openDemocracy,
    Sometimes journalism really can make a difference.
    For the past 18 months we’ve been asking a simple question. What ‘research’ does Jacob-Rees Mogg’s European Research Group actually do?
    The authorities refused to tell us. Even though this powerful, pro-Brexit lobby group of 80 MPs has received hundreds of thousands in taxpayer cash.
    We asked the parliamentary standards watchdog. They refused to tell us.
    We appealed to the information regulator. They wouldn’t help us.
    But we didn’t give up. We took our fight to the courts.
    And we won.
    A court has just ruled that the public has a right to see the ERG’s taxpayer-funded research.
    The ERG is one of the most powerful forces in British politics right now – it just brought down Theresa May, and it’s heavily influencing the choice of her successor.
    Now, you’ll get to see what they actually do with your money.

  • Tom

    Great work, Craig, exposing what is blatant corruption. It is confirmation of my growing sense during the Tory leadership election that Johnson is a rather dim-witted stooge of others. The bugging of his apartment right at the start of the members’ campaign may have been meant as some kind of warning.
    I wonder why Johnson needs so much money and what he spends it on? Looking at that dissipated, shifty face it doesn’t seem to have brought him peace of mind or happiness, that’s for sure.

  • Sharp Ears

    A man who describes himself as a ‘journalist extraordinaire’ said on Craig’s Twitter in response to Craig’s posting of this article:

    12 hours ago
    Replying to @CraigMurrayOrg @robertjoseph
    Compared to many other countries we’re relatively corruption free and should give thanks.

    The mind boggles as to which ‘journal’ he makes his contributions.

    • Goose

      The truth is, it’s probably just a lot easier to get away with it here. Usually, these smug ‘little Englander’ types point to Italy, but the fact so many politicians have been brought to justice is a positive, virtuous sign

      Plus we don’t have the activist judges who go after and investigate politicians, as on the continent. Our separation of powers isn’t a true separation at all. Quote : The UK is one of the most peculiar states in the world. It is one of those few states which do not have a written constitution. Due to the absence of a formal written constitution, it is possible to claim that there is no formal separation of powers in the UK.

      • Blissex

        «it’s probably just a lot easier to get away with it here. Usually, these smug ‘little Englander’ types point to Italy, but the fact so many politicians have been brought to justice is a positive, virtuous sign»

        Places like Japan, China, Italy, Greece etc. have a different culture of corruption, which is more “personal”, where instead in the UK (and the USA) corruption is more diffuse, based on group membership. For example in one place getting a well paid job in a business may be thanks to a personal “push” from a friend of friends, in another it may be simply that all members of a group (e.g. independently schooled) have 10 times the chance of being selected for it, and when hired they tend to hire their own.

        • fedup

          Johnny Foreigner is not as sophisticated as our very refined selves in corruption. Their corruption is in your face and overt; over the counter. Whereas in our case, corruption is rather an orchestrated affair that is often affected through proxy agencies including the various bag men whom carry the dosh from the source/supplicant to it’s intended recipient in the target office.

          More bizarre/disturbing is the covert connections between the criminal class and the control class that often goes unnoticed or unpublicised in any form or shape. But there again compared to Saudi or some other horrid outlands we are the best democracy in the universe and don’t forget you can talk against anyone or anything (within reason of course so long as you don’t mention certain group etc). Also, you have “freedom of Choice (whatever that meme mind mean).

          • N_

            Local council housing officers are usually well in with local gangster landlords, and district valuers are well in with local property scum who themselves are often the same people as the gangster landlords.

            It wouldn’t surprise me if there was that side to it in the Rotherham affair.

            Blissex mentions the “independent” schools. There’s a hierarchy within that sector. Also the Oxford and Cambridge colleges function as important networks in the overall network of high-level corruption in Britain and in the British-centred operation globally.

        • Goose

          You can wager the Tory press smothers lots of stories.

          For example, do you recall when Cameron announced the Leveson inquiry in 2011, following the News International phone hacking scandal?

          It was widely reported Murdoch was furious by his decision. The Sunday Times then did an undercover investigation which involved posing as donors seeking to influence policy. They recorded the then Conservative co-treasurer claiming that for £250,000, party donors could gain privileged access to the Prime Minister David Cameron and potentially influence Government policy. The so-called Kitchen suppers ‘ scandal, the story broke in early 2012.

          • N_

            All these euphemisms – kitchen suppers, cash for questions, cash for access, sleaze, brokering influence, lobbying. They will call it anything they can find that’s jokesy – just don’t call it bribery and corruption. Such words tend to be reserved for actions by foreigners operating in foreign countries on foreign-only business, so they aren’t even applied to how in many countries you can get a British visa “extra fast” and with an exclusive cup of coffee thrown in, while standing on a plush carpet and being addressed as a “VIP”, if you hand over a grand or so to a local stringer. I wonder what you get for 10 grand. Then keep multiplying up. Pay enough and you’ll probably get documents sent around by Mercedes for your whole family. The dividing line between criminal business and the state is where exactly?

            One favourite was the chair of the Commons’ education select committee Barry Sheerman simultaneously chairing “Policy Connect”, which seems to be called everything under the sun other than what it is – a lobbying agency which furthers the interests of big businesses seeking contracts by influencing people such as select committee chairs on issues such as “education”. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

            Another is how in 2011 the Tory party’s co-Treasurer Peter Cruddas was caught on camera selling meetings with prime minister David Cameron in return for donations of £250000. That’s illegal, and he was caught on camera – but wait, it’s only illegal to sell them successfully, whereas the tape proved merely that he OFFERED to sell them. So that was OK and neither Cruddas nor Cameron was prosecuted or served a single day in prison. In Italy a prime minister would probably have fallen over such an obviously corrupt act that was caught on tape. (Admittedly he wouldn’t have gone to prison.) In Britain, let’s logic chop or think up a cuddly name for this dirt.

            The British media didn’t even ask why anyone would want to pay £250000 purely to “meet” with the prime minister.

            What did Cruddas do after that? He funded Vote Leave, that’s what.

            He’s still around – lobbying in the City for a crashout Brexit. What happens when a country trade-blockades itself? Ask someone in one of the countries that has been partially trade-blockaded, such as North Korea or Venezuela or Iran.

            But it will be lucrative for some. Extremely lucrative. Cruddas deals in derivatives, including foreign exchange ones – a sphere of human endeavour that is likely to spike at some point during Brexitmageddon, as the pound sterling goes the way of the Venezuelan bolivar. Never mind British exceptionalism. No men in tights referencing the Cinque Ports or dressed up like Henry VIII can export any goods if the ports are shut. Nobody’s going to want sterling.

          • Phil Espin

            Just to square the circle N, I would imagine the P Cruddass you cite is the same guy now “backing” Johnson, listed in Craig’s piece. Incorrigible.

    • james

      if the actions of the uk gov’t on an international level is any indication, i would say that said ‘journalist extraordinaire’ is off the mark considerably..

    • steve ambartzakis

      S E You have no idea, corruption in South Africa over the last five years alone has cost the country 700,000,000,000 rand, and if we look at 25 years of left-wing ANC rule the bill runs into trillions of rand. So, yes, you are “relatively” free of corruption.

      • Sharp Ears

        I know that. A relative lives in Capetown..

        btw I was quoting somebody else’s tweet. It was not mine. I am not on Twitter.

  • Deb O'Nair

    Western Democracy as practiced in USA, UK and elsewhere is actually, by dictionary definition, Fascist Kleptocracy. Once that is understood all makes sense.

  • Leftworks

    Some very nasty piece of work calling himself ‘Harry Johnson’ on Twitter (@HarryJo10476684) is going after Craig, and also after commenters on Craig’s blog. Clearly someone who has been following Craig’s blog for some considerable time, although has only joined Twitter under this name in July 2019.

    So far, has attacked Paul Barbara and Sharp Ears in tweets. Thought I had better let people on here know in case they wish to respond.

    • craig Post author

      Yes – I presume it’s our old pal Mr Bostock, who is miffed at being banned from here at present for constant ad hominem attacks, and appears to have formed the delusion that people wish to see his similar witterings on twitter.

      • Shatnersrug

        Busted hahah

        As for banning Best move you’d made for ages Craig, I admire your commitment to free speech but he really was a derailer extraordinaire

      • George

        I was wondering why Charlie Bostock hadn’t commented for a while. And, having perused this “Harry Johnson”, it is a credible theory that CB has now resorted to Twitter. I presume that this Bostock/Johnson creature also posed as “Habakkuk” at one time? I wonder if he is a paid troll or just a lone obsessive?

        • Shatnersrug

          I think he’s love everyone to think he works for Mi5/Mi6 but I think he’s probably a member of GnasherJew, a thoroughly unpleasant bunch of thugs controlled by the awful David Collier, I doubt Charles/Harry is Collier himself but it wouldn’t surprise me if he were Collier’s co-conspirator

          • George

            I just had a look into this Collier/Gnasher stuff and …well, I’m starting to find it harder to find words to express how low everything seems to be sinking. These days, I have to hold my nose every time I go on the net.

  • Blissex

    «I find the insider knowledge I have from my days as a British Ambassador and from the connections I then made, weighs horribly heavy upon me. If I knew less, I guess I would be less sad and less cynical.»

    For some old reasons I also got ages ago some insider knowledge, like so many people who work for a bit close to “the establishment” members, and anyhow I reads books and autobiographies etc., and I think our blogger is too optimistic and naive :-).

    What many idealists like him want is to clean up public business, but:

    * Private business is often equally corrupt, and that matters a lot too.
    * What matters is to make corruption intrinsically less profitable, rather than attempting to stamp it out. Not easy.

  • FranzB

    CM – “It was Blair who elevated British politics to US levels of shamelessness in the matter of politicians’ self enrichment,”

    Blair halted a fraud enquiry into BAE which was suspected of bribing Saudi royals to buy BAE weapons. This was on specious security grounds, at a time when the Saudis were funding the Taliban (via the Pakistani ISI), and the Taliban were using this funding to buy arms to kill British soldiers.,,2231496,00.html

    CM – “… the destruction of the UK state by the SNP and Plaid Cymru …”

    Don’t forget Ireland. Wings over Scotland recently highlighted differences between the development of the RoI and NI. It gave all the reasons why Scotland would be better off when independent, but also why NI might well vote for reunification in a border poll. [It’s worth linking to that document that Wings refers to IMO]

  • Muckraker

    There is another facet to “The Book Deal” scam. People who want to bribe the politician now can order large numbers of books. So, for instance you might see a corporate lobbyist buy many boxes of books. They’ll hand out what they can of what they see as the great politicians (ghostwritten) words, but often the books can end up in warehouse or being destroyed (hopefully at least recycled). The (ghostwritten) books are of course not important, but the fact that the serve as the vehicle by which people with lots of money can legally write large checks to politicians. It wouldn’t surprise me if the publishers don’t mind making some donation, but they expect to get at least some of that big advance back from large orders by those who wish a way to feed money to the politician.

    Compare how often you see such books on best-seller lists to how often you actually encounter people reading the book.

    I happened to look at Obama’s election disclosures in 2012, when he ran for re-election. When Obama first ran in 2008, they only had a million or two, much of it from a shady Chicago real estate deal where the Obama’s were basically gifted some valuable property. But, by 2012, he was worth something like over $15 million (IIRC). Not bad results from holding a job that pays a measly $400k a year while paying for an expensive DC private school for their daughter.

    Of course, the real money flows in after they leave office. And that money was likely promised while they were in office and able to do favors. Frequently the deal appears to be that they promise to take care of the politicians later for money making decisions now. The deal is presented by a former politician who is now lobbyist who tells the current office holder that the fat cat can be trusted to keep the deal, because she is the proof.

    • Goose

      Post-election patrons.

      Bill Clinton and Tony Blair are quite frankly in a league of their own in terms of these. Bill Clinton and his third-wayism; his ‘financial deregulation’ was a huge inspiration to Blair, Blair was quite open in his admiration. Both men have amassed huge fortunes – tens upon tens of millions of £$€s upon leaving political office. I believe together, along with the centrist protégés who’ve followed them, they are responsible for much of today’s cynicism and downright hostility to ‘centrism’ and the flashy unprincipled centrists pushing their triangulating political agendas.

    • Goose

      It always tends to be banks that pay these ex-political leaders the big money for speeches and consulting roles etc.

      But what can they offer now the banks now financial services are completely deregulated?

      RT’s Max Keiser ventured the idea, around at the time of Snowden. That because sell/buy trades are automated, being quickest is what counts, and maybe the intel agencies can provide the lowest latency trading connections? I’ve no idea if that theory has any validity.

      • Mighty Drunken

        Low latency connections for high frequency trading are a money maker. It comes down to physics, the shortest route will have the quickest connection. The first people to trade will get the bigger profit. It does make some sense that the intel agencies will have access to these links as they are known to put data centres on important Internet routes as they enter/exit a country. The UK is well placed as a lot of the connections from North America to Europe enter the UK.

        There is a lot of discussion about how the new satellite constellations by Starlink, OneWeb and Amazon will provide even faster (low latency) links across the globe. The links may take a longer route then the fibre optic cables but light travels faster through air than an fibre optic cable. I wonder how this will play out as Elon Musk appears to be his own man and not very interested in politics and the old way of doing things. While Jeff Bezos, for example, knows how to gain influence by including the right people, doing work for the security agencies and keeping old money happy.

        • Mighty Drunken

          I forget to add that even if banking is fully deregulated and nothing obvious can be done to improve their profits (without being too obvious) the banks will still want to support the politicians who will keep the status quo. Anyone who rocks the gravy train will find they attract a lot of negative press. Cough, Jeremy Corbyn.

        • Goose

          Max Keiser made his comments around the time it emerged the NSA give GCHQ $100m per year.

          Other headlines:

          “Morgan Stanley has hired Jeremy Heywood, principal private secretary to Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, to beef up its UK mergers and acquisitions advisory coverage.

          “As a paid senior adviser to US bank, Morgan Stanley Sir John Scarlett will be getting $2.5m per year.

          “Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, is joining Morgan Stanley to help the US financial firm pitch for take over deals across Europe. Jonathan Powell …”

          “Blair takes position at JPMorgan…”

          • Goose

            Note. Jeremy Heywood died late last year. I was merely illustrating the senior public service role to banking pattern.

  • N_

    There are parts of Scotland where it’s almost impossible to find a tradesman to do work on your house because they get so many “grant jobs” where on paper they’re supposedly paying (in other words, you are paying) five or ten times more for materials than they would pay on the open market for the amount of materials that are actually required. It’s like it’s against their religion not to lie and cheat and steal.

    It’s no surprise that the Scottish government loves the idea of an independent Scotland belonging to the EU so they can trouser grant money and creamoffs and at last look their “independent” Irish cousins in the eye as their equally successful crooked companions.

    Who do you vote for if you’re against that? Tell me and I’ll think about voting for them.

    This is a bit like what I used to call the Millennium Dome Question. The Millennium Dome was an obvious scam (which curiously ended up benefiting Trinity College, Cambridge). Everyone who looked at the project knew it was a scam. It might as well have been a huge bridge that sucked up vast quantities of cement and led nowhere, of the kind you get in Portugal or Italy. But what political party was there to vote for if you were against it? Just on the simple one-issue matter of “Say no to the Dome, because it’s an official act of mega-thievery”, who might you vote for who called it anything similar to what it was?

    • N_

      It’s no surprise that the Scottish government loves the idea of an independent Scotland belonging to the EU so they can trouser grant money and creamoffs and at last look their “independent” Irish cousins in the eye as their equally successful crooked companions.

      They are so drunk with corruption, with lying every chance they get, in every little thing they do, that they believe that as soon as they can send Nicola Sturgeon to shake hands with other prime ministers as an equal they will simply be able to fill in a few forms with whatever bullsh*t is required, seal it with a fancy stamp referencing the Battle of Bannockburn or the Declaration of Arbroath, and then even more money will pour into their accounts than it does now, when their formal position is within the British public administration,

        • Iain Stewart

          Go on, N_, spill the beans!
          You could always hide behind a cloak of anonymity (unless your insider information could only be held by an easily identified Welsh Marxist living in Scotland, of course, which might be a bit of a giveaway).

  • BrianFujisan

    Great Post Craig, Brilliant work.. Cheers

    We So Badly Need Shot of Westminster = bbc = U.S Rule

    you would have Loved ‘ All Under One Banner ‘ in Ayr yesterday. Stunning stuff

    Why is Jeremy C not taking jeremy hunt to court over recent remarks. ???

  • giyane

    How do the Tories plan to squeeze their self indulgent prosperities back into the bottle of using less and making the planet green?

    Never going to happen. Unless of course scrapping all the existing diesel cars and making new factories for electric cars is considered green.

    Nobody except fat cats will ever be able to afford an HS2 train ticket and those who can afford one will never deign to talk Brum.

    It’s like they have run out of ideas on what they can waste personally, so they need the state to waste money for them.

    • Jimmeh

      Making the planet green?

      The target is 2050. There will have been at least ten general elections between now and then. They’re making commitments for future governments – which will not be bound by those commitments. It’s just waffle.

  • DavidH

    Fantastic – so it is the Russians…

    I’m not sure you can ever keep business money and influence out of politics. If politics is going to rule and regulate these things then they will always overlap. It’s a question of who is ruling and regulating whom and in whose interest, which will be a question of degrees, not absolutes. Even Saint Alex had his share of shady agreements with the Murdochs in return for favorable coverage etc etc. What’s needed is a free and investigative press to shine a light on at least the most blatant abuses and keep things in balance. When we don’t even have that any more, shown by the fact that all Craig “exposes” above is perfectly public information yet entirely unreported, then really the whole show is doomed.

  • Hieroglyph

    Ah, not heard from Mandy recently. Personally, I am often amused by that rogue. He’s a crook and a bounder, and probably worse, but he does have a certain elegant charm to him, a twinkle in his eye as he pushes yet another crooked deal, policy or scam. Were I a billionaire magnate, I’d employ him too. He’d also be quite a good character in a Bond movie, playing some Bond villain’s bagman, who of course eventually dies horribly.

    I have it as a 8-1-1 ratio. 10 politicians, 8 are in it for the money, 1 is an idealist, and the last one is a psychopath (who is also in it for the money). I leave the reader to guess which one Blair and Mandy are …

    The psychopath, obviously. I mean, dur.

  • SA

    There is crude corruption, as practiced by dictators and others in countries with little democracy and there is the refined subtle legalised corruption in the so called democratic countries. The other way of legalised corruption for example in the scientific and medical research world is the sponsorship of international meetings.
    These meetings are essential for workers in the field to meet others and discuss their research and exchange ideas but they are heavily dominated by big pharmaceutical and other industries. Big pharmaceutical companies also sponsor medical research
    If we are to move away from bias the only way is to ask these companies to donate the money and an independent committee would then allocate the funds according to merit only. But of course the trend is now going the other way whereby governments and independent bodies are less likely to sponsor independent research as some of it has no commercial value and only ‘translational research’ is encouraged.

  • Dave

    Its the rich that get the pleasure and the poor that get the blame, hence the great purpose of democracy is to give the poor a voice, but whatever system is in place the rich will rule.

    The Trade Unions set up the Labour Party to give them a political voice in Parliament and that’s the purpose of democracy to give a voice for different interests groups.

    This means what is being described as corruption is just the way of the world, but as we’re a democracy its more transparent and we know about it. In other words certain politicians are just acting on behalf of their sponsors, electorate just as many MPs lobby for Trident on behalf of the GMB.

    The solution is voting reform to get a more representative Parliament to ensure the right things/MPs are promoted, which in itself wont stop corruption but it will be a more representative corruption called democracy.

    • giyane

      ‘ The Trade Unions { bad} set up the Labour Party {bad} to give them a {political} voice in Parliament and that’s the purpose of democracy to give a voice for different {even if bad } interests groups.’

      Wheezes the troll.

      No the purpose of democracy is to limit the longevity of corruption and excess by instructing the powerful that their actions will be evaluated and ceased should they decide to act corruptly. The purpose of democracy is not designed to share power between different types of idealism which are all equally valid.
      Its purpose is to limit the damage that can be done. For example Erdogan administered Islamic State for NATO. Now he has been kicked out of Istanbul.

      Tory corruption has reached a level at which in normal circumstances an election would curtail their excesses. We are in the last , groaning gasps of a dying administration, clutching its leveraged wealth with wizened hands in the vain belief that it will be able carry it forward into the next world.
      By the Autumn it will have shoved off into oblivion, taking its scowling brexit with it to oblivion.

      • yr hen gof

        People are all too ready to accuse Tory politicians of corruption and in my opinion quite justly so, since there’s no shortage of evidence; however, what people seem reluctant to discuss is the fact that the ballot might be rigged, regularly.
        I frequently see posted on blogs and Face Book groups the comment: “How do people keep voting for these (insert whatever rude word you wish)” or “I can’t believe people keep voting for them”.
        Well maybe, just maybe, people aren’t voting for them.
        I daresay it’s no coincidence that the Tories/establishment have been intimate bedfellows with Britain’s intelligence services for over a century and there are no criminal depths that any of these three wouldn’t stoop to.
        Root and branch reform needs to extend well beyond Westminster.

  • Chris Barclay

    The Russians refer to the struggle to control the aluminium industry in the 90s as the Aluminium War. The way to effect a corporate takeover was to kill the owners.

  • Xavi

    Let’s keep pretending it’s a democracy, in which the Tory party governs for the many..

    “Who is really backing Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt?”

    “A small and incredibly select group of people, almost entirely from the worlds of finance, banking and property – who would arguably have a vested interest in lower tax rates for the high-paid (a Johnson proposal), slashing the rate of corporation tax (as Hunt seeks to do), and a government with less interest in regulating businesses”.

    Wealthy Tory donors part with vast sums at fundraising auction
    Pheasant-shooting trip among lots at London event attended by May, Hunt and Johnson.

  • M.J.

    “Boris Johnson received £235,500 in “private” donations…”

    OTOH Craig, I take it that you are very happy with your wife and family, which may be more than can be said for Boris judging by recent reports about red wine, sofas, screaming and shouting. Maybe there are things that money can’t buy, and you’ve got them 🙂

  • Monster

    At least Boris has upped the game from actually having to soil his hands by handling such donations. Neil Hamilton MP (ex) favoured receiving his wonga in legal tender inside brown envelopes. As a barrister he might have thought its source untraceable and unlikely to appear in Craig’s blog.

    • michael norton

      if Boris becomes the next Prime minister of the United Kingdom,
      one of his first duties will be to appoint a new Ambassador to the United States of America.

    • Dave

      Hamilton was a fool for taking a free drink from a stranger who turned out to be mad, but he wasn’t guilty in the true sense of the word, that is he never received money in brown envelopes for asking questions, which can be asked anyway.

      Al-Fayed said the establishment was corrupt, asked for evidence he cited Hamilton, probably the only person he knew, and thought him corrupt for accepting an offered drink, made up the brown envelope nonsense and then Hamilton was latched onto by MSM and Labour as the embodiment of Tory sleaze that won Labour the General Election, despite most of the evidence being very minor indeed. Then New Labour took things to the sewer.

      • giyane


        So that’s all OK then.
        All Foreigners are never to be trusted and all Tory MPs are to be believed at all times.
        Your phrase ‘ the embodiment ‘ suggests a ritual of purification that forgives all crimes whatever their enourmities. Isn’t it strange that Mr Fayed’s religion tells him that he is responsible for his actions while Thatcherism exonerates all crimes committed in the name of making money.

        Radio 4’s PM programme even had a tory despising Corbyn for being ‘ anti money ‘.
        Nobody’s anti money Dave. It just needs to find its way out of the pockets of the rich into the pockets of the ordinary people. Troll.

        • Dave

          Sorry but Fayed went mad with grief, as did the mother of Stephen Lawrence. One was embraced the other ignored, due to the different politics involved.

  • Ewan

    Scotland will be subsumed in the EU, which is a part of the economic and financial system dominated by the US. Scotland will be a (small) part of NATO, which is a (small) part of the US military. It would appear that Scotland really will have no alternative but to do what it is told, or suffer the consequences. Likewise, England. Scottish independence and Mr. Corbyn cannot change this. Thoughts?

    • nevermind

      not much to discuss Ewan, three years ago Scotland was benefiting by some 2bn+ of EU funding after contributions.

      “The membership fee also includes an EU aid element, which Scotland is obliged to spend anyway if we don’t give it to the EU as part of the membership fee. This amounts to approximately £65.6m. So taking the net membership fee to Scotland of £275.2m and subtracting the private sector and the aid money benefit we find the net cost to Scotland of £97.6m and so it seems that for every £1.00 we pay to the EU for membership Scotland gets about £20.00 back – Deal or No Deal? The net overall financial benefit to Scotland from EU membership is, therefore, approximately £2.142bn per annum.”

    • Republicofscotland

      “Scotland will be subsumed in the EU, which is a part of the economic and financial system dominated by the US. ”

      Actually we’ll have a bigger say than we have now along with more MEP’s.

      • Ewan

        You should study how the EU dealt with Greece and how the Baltic statelets have flourished – by masochism and servility. And the notion of Scotland telling the US where to go… Independence, I hope, will deliver small, incremental benefits, as in Ireland – but as in Ireland, it will come at a price.

  • Duncan

    Craig, you are correct.
    As an exile living in England, I am often asked by my English friends why there would be a desire for Scottish independence.
    In simple terms:
    “We would rather be fucked over by local folk, because we would know where to find them.”

    Boris in Darlington in the hustings meeting last week was asked “What have you done in your life that was not always in the best interest of Boris?”
    His sputtering 2 minute non reply was embarrassing, but a clear indication of what the man is really like.

  • Martin

    Again, i half agree with what you say Craig. Corbyn (and Biden/Sanders) has 30+ years in politics and changed what exactly?
    Nothing, only boring speaches, when i get into power we’ll change this and change that.

    To survive that long in politics you are part of the system

    • Martin

      …..time for new blood.
      The dinosaurs are useless.
      The system is broken.
      A solution needs new minds.

    • Xavi

      Illogical stuff, Martin. He has never been anywhere near power, so what change could he have effected? He has though been proved consistently right on virtually every issue and has an expenses record that also speaks volumes. Strange that out of all of them and beneath a blog detailing Tory corruption you would single him out for scorn.

        • Deb O'Nair

          Have you seen Corbyn’s voting record? Do you know how much support he has from his constituents? Did you not know that Corbyn has turned Labour into the largest political party in Europe?

          You appear to have been reading/watching too much about Corbyn in the corporate media without understanding who he is and the threat he represents to the vested interests who have thoroughly infected this country with their greed, corruption and criminality. You are shilling for people who likely hold you in complete contempt for sucking up their bullshit.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    Long long ago when the oil industry was going berserk with money in Aberdeen,I was working onshore as a pipe systems controller. one Saturday a telex arived saying Urgent urgent urgent-we require a 10″ 22.5 degree elbow. Must have by end of day.
    We were all a bit perplexed as we had never heard of a 22.5 degree elbow, we contacted a pipe components company and they offered by telex to supply for £5000, an inordinate sum of money for a relatively simple object. They had got wind of the urgency and had just lobbed in a huge price to take advantage of the situation. Meantime I had gone and rooted out the engineering drawings to find out what the object was. On looking at the drawing I realised that the 22.5 degree elbow was a 45 degree elbow cut in half, a task that was easily done offshore. I immediately got in touch with a mate called Mike who had set up a company recently and suggested he ‘supply’ the item for £4,500 and I would nip down to the warehouse in bridge of don, pick up a 45 degree elbow take it round to a local fabricator, have it cut and weld prepped for a cash sum of £50. I would then scoot off to the airport to have it delivered to the platform. Meantime Mike would put in an invoice and we would split the 4450 between us.OK I know these sums seem paltry by modern standards but in 1976 this was enough to buy a decent car or even be the deposit on a modest flat.
    so I delivred the 45 degree elbow to ** fabrications, handed over £50 and scooted back to the office on Union Street (Braemar house on corner of Dee street, if anyone is interested).I immediately went to the telex room to find a telex saying ‘cancel cancel cancel! the 22.5 degree elbow. it transpired that the shift had changed over and a new pipe foreman with more wits had replaced the previous dim witted one. Wihout an instruction from offshore I was not able to act.Anyway to get to the point, the £50 was lost and to cap it all Mike (the weasel)
    refused to cough up his share of the £50.The transaction was essentially corrupt and I was hoist by my own petard (anyone know what a petard is?)
    Of course the loser in this case was a very nasty oil company(Chevron Petroleum to be precise- a worthy object for fraud) and did not involve the public purse or any kind of political system.
    Anyway my point is that many people’s virtue is ensured by the absence of opportunity (or in my case serendipity ) not by one’s superior moral bearing. Thus also for many a faithful spouse.
    I don’t want to give the impression that I approve of all the corruption,money grubbing, and favour buying of moern politics,I I actually deplore the likes of ‘Bottom’ Johnson , and cunning stunt lady bottom Jeremy Hunt but be careful about being the first to cast a stone.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      A petard be a small bomb.
      After many decades reading Rotten Boroughs in Private Eye, I remain scunnered that the Chief Executive recruitment scam continues to run its merry course. An executive headhunter is retained to source a new Council Chief Executive, a total looney is recruited. After three to six months they are put on indefinite gardening leave to be payed off six months later. The six figure “finders fee” is split between the headhunter and select Council staff. Twelve months later the total looney appears at another council, their CV presumably cleansed of their bizarre behaviour and subsequent sacking.

    • Jimmeh

      A petard is a bomb designed to be hung on a door or gateway, in order to blow it open.

      How Shakespeare figured that you could be “hoist” by such a thing, whether one’s own or someone else’s, beats me. Perhaps the word had a different meaning in Elizabethan times.

      • Rowan Berkeley

        “How Shakespeare figured that you could be “hoist” by such a thing, whether one’s own or someone else’s, beats me.”
        The sapper would throw it over a gateway, and then get dragged over himself by the cord still attached to it, the end still in his hand, intended to halt the thing’s descent at a critical height opposite a lock or hinge on the far side.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “Perhaps the word had a different meaning in Elizabethan times.”

        Excusing your ignorance of English by blaming the Elizabethans? How very English.

  • Dave

    What is a politicians record, what have they ever done or achieved? Fair questions but unfair too, because a politicians job is to represent the people and make their voice heard.

    I don’t support Corbyn, but I can’t help being sympathetic when he’s attacked by the war-party, and his very worthy record has been to oppose all the Zionist wars for profit and remain elected to do so. And now as fortunes change he could become PM and set the agenda, which in turn creates a new opposition who can do little more than protest.

    But then again being a vocal opposition can influence and mitigate policies, hence Ed Miliband not supporting Cameron’s motion to bomb Syria after his destruction of Libya.

  • Athanasius

    What kills me about the whole Brexit business is not the idea of leaving the EU per se — there is a rational case to be made on both sides of that one — but rather, the implicit assumption of English exceptionalism on the part of its advocates. Besides the apparent belief that the map of the world will turn red again the morning after, and taking it for granted that Australia, Canada, etc; would be holding parades to welcome the Mother Country back, the English seem to assume that corruption started with accession to the EU and will suddenly stop once Johnny Foreigner is shown off the premises. They seem incapable of understanding that it’s as native to the soil of England as any other country. Indeed, historically, Westminster was always rotten to the core of its existence.

  • Vinnie Pooh

    Being Russian any reminder of the “hallowed 90’s”, as they are affectionately known among Russian liberals (which is considered an irreversible brain condition by most people in Russia), makes me throw up in my mouth. Statistically the differences to the 90’s are the single most important determinant of Putins popularity (as shown by basic factor analysis), the second being relative economic prosperity (relative to the 90’s that is).

    Btw, blatant wilful ignorance of this well established sociological fact by the Western media, who instead put forward ridiculous reasons like lack of free speech or suppression of alternative opinions (both total nonsense in the era of internet) is the first and main marker of bias in the said media, and also one of the main sources of Russia’s safety. This disregard of reality permeates not just the media, but also the Western political class (or, rather, these two are the same thing), and any solution has to be first based on real reasons. So I am quite ambivalent about the depiction of Russia in the West: on the one hand it’s so ridiculously divorced from reality it hurts, on the other it is a good thing.

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