You know how the last couple of years have exposed a vast amount of corruption and arrogance in the UK’s institutions? You know how each new revelation just makes things worse? Well, we all need to put aside our scandal fatigue for a moment, cos tjis one’s an absolute doozy:
But hey, someone’s resigned and they face a big fine, so that’s okay then.
The report notes that a US senator said that all the recent financial scandals seem to emanate out of London. It’s not surprising – we live in a country where if you screw up multi-million pound government contracts you get rewarded with more multi-million pound government contracts, and where, if you get caught doing something criminal to the world economy, you get to walk away with a massive pay-off rather than, say, going to jail.
Meanwhile, chip shops get criminalised and the disabled get demonised and the public sector gets slashed (even though we’re now reliant on the public sector to make up for the failings of the private sector in, for instance, providing security for the Olympics.
There’s absolutely nothing inspirational about all this. It’s all “I don’t recall” and “In hindsight that was wrong” and a network of connections that implicate politicians and CEOs in a giant, accidental conspiracy. They can’t even act like the Illuminati without screwing it up.
And yet this defines the story – do something spectacularly wrong and get away with it, with your slap on the wrist being accompanied by a severance package in the millions. It erodes trust and moral leadership, it widens the gulf between rich and poor and it twists our social narrative – why not nick an iPad from PC World?
Because it’s wrong. nick an iPad, pay the consequences. But that means if you help a drug cartel – a drug cartel – you need to pay the price for that. If you give tacit support to Mexican drug lords and al Qaeda you’re not just talking about “a failure in compliance”, you’re talking about decapitated journalists and suicide bombings. I hope our leaders remember this when making speeches about the scourge of drugs. When paying tribute to the next British soldier to fall in the line of duty.
It won’t happen, of course, because this amoral attitude now seems to be an intrinsic part of life. Even something like the Olympics, which should be about celebrating heroic athletic achievement now seems to be about making as much money as possible. Look at the brand police and the attempts at controlling language and Orwellian websites to help us report copyright infringement among our neighbours. It’s why I’m growing to despise the Games and they haven’t even started yet; they should be something great and positive but instead they feel like the decline of western civilisation in a tracksuit.
I just want my country back.