Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Intermediation

It's obviously deeply satisfying to see Byers and his muckers in a state of disgrace and humiliation. But I can't get that excited about the immediate cause.

Weren't they doing what generations of (mostly Tory) MPs have done in setting out to earn a few bob by parlaying political contacts into business opportunities? Think of the droves of former Tory ministers that went into the City and industry as non-execs in the course of the post-privatisation '80s and '90s.

The reason this particular New Labour collection of superannuated politicos has been caught out is that the whole market in political connections has been thrown open. The old school tie, the old regimental tie, the old college scarf, and the elevated social circle are no longer sufficient routes by which buyer and seller can find each other and do business. In an age where mediocre polytechnic lecturers become Cabinet Ministers such links have to be intermediated. Introductions have to be made, deals arranged and monies passed across a daisy-chain of schmoozers. The growth of lobbying firms is a direct consequence of this new market structure.

In this way, what looks particularly bad does so not because it hasn't happened before but because for the first time we're able to witness it in all its grisly, whoring, sordid glory.

7 comments:

Brit said...

A bit of Scandal Fatigue with this one. The great British public already damned all politicians to the deepest pits of Hell over the expenses, so there's nowhere left to go now.

Gaw said...

Like I say, I can't get that excited about it. In one form or another it's absolutely inevitable that this sort of thing is going to happen. It always has and it always will.

(Not that I don't welcome Byers getting a bit of comeuppance - we can't always pick and choose how someone gets righteously stuffed).

Brit said...

Yes indeed. Investigative journos and satirists do a vital job in keeping our politicians in check, of course, but I just can't be doing with the likes of Guido and the self-righteous hysteria. I think I'm cursed with a sense of perspective.

What struck me most about the expenses scandal was how few MPs took the piss, when it was so easy for them to do so.

Peter said...

Remember the good old days when cabinet ministers had affairs with foreign sirens and compromised national security? That's the trouble with the modern world--all anyone cares about today is money!

Gaw said...

I believe the old saw has it that it's Labour ministers who are undone by money scandals and Tory ministers who are undone by sex scandals. A reason to look forward to a Tory administration - sex scandals do wonders for the gaiety of the nation.

zmkc said...

I'm excited - always excited to see Patricia Hewitt covered in mud.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Gaw, and I once heard a codicil added (in jest): "And the Labour ministers need the money to buy the sex". (Though I suppose that more appropriately applies to Liberal Democrats now.)