Sunday, 2 June 2013

One rule for the rich

Today we have heard in the news that three members of the House of Lords are being investigated for alleged wrong-doings.  They might (or of course might not) have offered to accept payment for services relating to the business of government.  Of course that would have been illegal . . . (if indeed they had done it).

Two of them are just 'ordinary' Lords, presumably accustomed to being well rewarded for doing f**k all.  It might be understandable (but still unforgivable) that they had got into bad habits.

But the third surely has no excuse for failing to understand the law of the land properly, as he is a former senior policeman.  As the BBC web site says here . . .

Lord (Brian) Mackenzie, a former chief superintendent for Durham police and president of the Police Superintendents Association, said he could arrange parties for paying clients - including on the terrace of the House of Lords - after being asked if this was possible.

Lord Brian MacKenzie of Framwellgate: ''I have not broken any of the rules'' "There is a rule that you shouldn't host a reception in parliament where you have a pecuniary interest. I thought that's bloody nonsense. [Whereas to me that makes perfect sense, since I don't see why the Houses of Parliament should be confused with a Gentleman's Club]  Nonetheless... how would you get round that?

"I just say to a colleague who has nothing to do with it, 'would you host a function for me?'" he said. 

But Lord Mackenzie told the BBC he was "quite happy" that he had not broken the rules.

Yeah . . . right!  In the light of these allegations, do you suppose he might have behaved perfectly well when he was a copper?  A policeman breaking the law?  Surely not.  Perhaps we might begin to doubt the propaganda that we get about our perfect police, if we didn't already suspect that things were not perfectly in order.

Of course these three will escape any risk of a custodial sentence for their misdeeds.  Even if there is a theoretical risk, I expect they have friends - oh no, 'colleagues' - who can arrange things for them.

Meanwhile everyone else who works for the UK Government seems to be required to take training on corruption - as in avoiding it.  Do members of the House of Lords have to take this training?  Or do they do their training in their subsidised bar, advising each other about what they can get away with? 

It is beginning to seem that way isn't it?  This is the kind of thing that really raises the morale of public sector workers!

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