Vox Political on New Book on MPs with Undeclared Directorships

Earlier today Mike put up a piece about a report in the Business Insider on a new book, Parliament Ltd: A Journey to the Dark Heart of British Politics by journalist Martin Williams , which documents the number of MPs holding directorships, many of which are undeclared.

There are 1,450 MPs, comprising 650 members of the House of Commons and 800 Lords. Together, members of parliament hold nearly 2,800 active directorships in 2,465 companies, with revenues of £220 billion and a combined workforce of 1.2 million people. Williams estimates that roughly 40 per cent of these directorships are not declared in the register of members’ financial interests. A further 6 per cent are only partly declared, and another 3 per cent declared with major errors, such as the misspelling of company names.

The book makes the point that there is no evidence that any of the MPs have broken any rules. However, the book, with the help of London technology startup company Duedil, did reveal many directorships that are potentially controversial .

Mike makes the point that Martin Williams himself states that there is no need for MPs to declare their interest in companies, except where this may influence the way they vote or Lords speak. However, it is only through books like this that MPs’ commercial interests can be revealed. Mike also compares it to the work of the journalists, who have uncovered the massive electoral corruption committed by the Tories.

He also makes the point that it shows the massive potential for unchecked corruption in our political system that has gone on for far too long, and asks what can be done about it.

See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/08/01/politicians-hold-undeclared-directorships-in-firms-with-huge-profits/

I came across the book about a fortnight ago in the ‘New Books’ section of Waterstone’s in Cheltenham. The book’s blurb makes the point that these politicians aren’t working for us, and to think so is a grave mistake. In fact, such corruption has been a feature of the British political system for a very long time. A few months ago a put up a piece based on the book, Your MP, by ‘Gracchus’, published by Victor Gollancz in 1944. This was an expose of the corruption within the Tory party, and the way its members had collaborated or fraternised with the Nazis before the War, and had voted against liberal policies, such as the condemnation of Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, and for the immediate implementation of the Beveridge Report and is recommendation for the new welfare state and NHS.

As for what can be done about it, there is now a mass movement in America demanding the complete removal of corporate sponsorship from politics. One Conservative Californian businessman put up a internet petition ‘California Is Not For Sale’ demanding that any politicians, who received donations from corporate sponsors for their campaign, should have to wear sponsorship logos on their jackets when they entered Congress. There is also the ‘Move to Amend’ campaign, headed by an American constitutional lawyer, that is demanding a repeal of the legislation permitting companies to sponsor politicians as constitutional free speech. I will be putting up a very short – just under 5 minute interview by the American comedian, Jimmy Dore – later this evening, which shows the amazing progress this campaign is making in the US.

We badly need measures like this over this side of the pond, to make our politics less corrupt, and our politicos genuinely answerable to the people, not to their shareholders or board chairmen.

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One Response to “Vox Political on New Book on MPs with Undeclared Directorships”

  1. Florence Says:

    The UK is a little different to the USA in the role of class, monarchy and the establishment, in addition to the corporatism infecting politics. A good example of this was with Osborne and fracking, and his apparent lack of direct interest in any such company, but his father in law being very much involved. It is a feature of the 1% that they marry, school, and generally look after their own small clique, and this does include directorships too, both exec and non-exec. Like Sam Cams exposure through the Panama papers (fallen into obscurity now it seems) that she owned ‘a field’ which in fact was a director of a £multi-million company. She is of course from the Astor family. Cameron of course is related to the queen, (and Harriet Harman) as is Hunt and Osborne. The money-for-nothing class accumulate the well paid and poorly defined posts in major companies. Then there are the links from those companies to political donation, and we see that the same ones who have given generously to the Tories are also funding Progress within Labour, of which Harriet Harman is a leading light. This is a web of corporate corruption with the added benefit of familial ties too. The same can be found with the private health companies and the privateers (Tory and Labour) of the NHS. It is obvious that the political fight back from the working classes will be resisted, brutally if needed, with Corbyn as the figurehead attracting the most Vitriol. The question needs to be asked though, is it possible to get this turned around at least to the status a few decades ago? I believe it is, and if enough if us believe that too, we have a chance of getting the world back from the neo liberals.

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