©2010 Am An Zhang
I think there is something fundamentally scary about our democracy…. Because I think people have a sense that the system is rigged, and it’s hard to argue that it isn’t.
Michael Lewis: The Big Short
“Baroness Uddin claimed £100,000 in public money by naming an allegedly empty flat in
as her main home, while living in a flat just four miles from Parliament. Kent
She was investigated by police over allegations that she had misused the £174-a-night allowance intended for peers who have to stay overnight in London while living elsewhere in the country.
But in an unprecedented intervention, Keir Starmer said that she had not been charged because the Lords’ rules were so lax.”
If they are not in government, where are they?
“Interestingly, former health ministers have done particularly well. The ex-health secretary Patricia Hewitt earns more than £100,000 as a consultant for Alliance Boots and Cinven, a private equity group that bought 25 private hospitals from Bupa. After leaving the department, her predecessor, Alan Milburn, worked for Bridgepoint Capital, which successfully bid for NHS contracts, and now boasts a striking portfolio of jobs with private health companies.”
Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to spend more time with his family, his partner is a hospital doctor), Milburn took a post for £30,000 a year as an advisor to Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm heavily involved in financing private health care firms moving into the NHS, including Alliance Medical, Match Group, Medica and the Robinia Care Group. He has been Member of Advisory Board of Pepsico since April 2007. Wikipedia
In January 2008, it was announced that Hewitt had been appointed "special consultant" to the world's largest chemists, Alliance Boots. Such an appointment was controversial given Hewitt's former role as Health Minister, resulting in objections to her appointment by members of a Parliamentary committee. Hewitt will also become the "special adviser" to private equity company Cinven, which paid £1.4billion for Bupa's
In March 2008, it was announced that Hewitt will join the BT Group board as a non-executive director. She joined the group on 24 March 2008. In July 2009, Patricia Hewitt joined the UK India Business Council as its Chair.
In May 2009 The Daily Telegraph reported that Hewitt claimed £920 in legal fees when she moved out of a flat in her constituency, stayed in hotels and then rented another flat in
Leicester. Claimed for furniture including £194 for blinds delivered to her home. In June 2009 Hewitt announced that she will be stepping down from the House of Commons. She said she was leaving the Commons for personal reasons as she wanted to spend more time with her family. Wikipedia London
"Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer- except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs."
Animal Farm George Orwell
A culture of corruption pervades the links between government and business, fuelled by and fuelling privatisation. These relationships are – as Adam Smith put it – a conspiracy against the public interest.