Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

The UK, one of the 12 least corrupt nations in the world?


Mandelson? The Mittal Polish steel contracts affair? Paul Drayson’s government contracts and peerage following his donations to the Labour party? Birmingham postal vote fraud? Allegations of bribery? Ex-Transport Minister Stephen Byers “accidentally misleading” parliament? Capita’s no-bid contracts? High-profile gambling moguls being found to have – shall we say – “connections”? Keith Vaz? Geoffrey Robinson? “Cash for Coronets”? One Lord Chancellor just happening to be the PM’s ex-boss, the next his ex-flatmate (both of whom then just happened to appoint friends to high-powered posts)? Bernie Ecclestone? David Blunkett’s train tickets and nanny visa? Corruption that would “disgrace a banana republic”? The Hinduja passport affair? The executive soliciting party donations from the judiciary? Relatives and ex-employees of ministers working for Private Finance Initiative companies? Dodgy Labour councillors? Public money spent on party propaganda disguised as public information? Using known conmen to help buy flats? Clive Betts MP and his male escort’s immigration papers? The “reworking” of pretty much every means of assessment going, from unemployment figures to hospital waiting lists? Not to mention that 36 of the 71 corporations currently barred from World Bank contracts due to corruption or fraud are British, or any of the other countless bits of petty corruption, lies and sleaze?

If we’re that good in comparison, what the hell’s the rest of the world like?


  1. As one who has worked in an extremely (more normally?) corrupt country here�s the difference.
    In most of the world the first thing you ask, when you want to do something, is who do I pay?

    In the UK that is still, thankfully, not the case, indeed, in almost all walks of life you never even dream that there might be someone you could pay.

    Except Government, of course.

  2. OK, this isn't a major point, but it's something that always annoys me, so I'm going to pick up on.

    When you mention Clive Betts, you refer to his "male escort". What difference does it make which sex the person was? You may not be done on purpose, but that is the kind of petty homophobia that we've come to expect from the red-tops and the mail.

  3. Tim – I know, but I still can't believe that everywhere else is THAT bad… I'm probably naive. It'd certainly explain the whole pro-EU thing…

    Anonymous – or, alternatively, it's an accurate description that implies disapproval of prostitution that's less blunt than "rentboy" or "piece of hired arse". Sorry, can't see the homophobia there at all – unlike my earlier Mandelson post (although that was really more anti-Mandelson, I'd say…)

  4. Believe it NM. The first thing anyone does with any sort of power is abuse it.

    The more shocking thing is not that we're joint 11th, but that Singapore is in the top four. Benevolent and clean authoritarianism? Novel concept. I think we should give it a go. Rather people get shot for chewing gum than for being Brazilian.

  5. Anonymous: Of course, one could have always gone for the "you grease my palm I'll grease…"

    Nosemonkey: Believe Tim. Our wondrous government excepted, the best bid is usually accepted. I know that I've lost contracts in Med. countries because I didn't "look after" the right person.
    It could well be that in the UK I lost contracts because I didn't go to the right school with the right people, who knows?

  6. Nosemonkey – you've mentioned only political scandals, and ones that would be ignored and considered as little more than perks of the job in say France or Italy.

    Also, one of your 'scandals' is an op-ed piece in the torygraph by renowned hard-right hack Peter Oborne, criticising the blairs for not showing sufficient deference to the unelected head of state.
    Of the over 1,600 words, only 61 refer to anything else, and those to the brum postal vote scandal that you'd already referenced. Makes it look like you're desperate for anything to support your claim.

    Our public life in general is very free from corruption, our civil servants are not constantly on the take. That's what these indices of corruption usually seem to look at.

    I've got tp agree with the anonymous who mentioned the male escort line. If you were purely expressing your disapproval of prostitution, you'd've said escort. Adding the gender does imply that it being a male escort was somehow worse than a female one. I think that crying homophobia (even petty) is a tad excessive, but it does imply a disapproval of homosexuality on top of the disapproval of prostitution.

  7. Hmmm. Still not convinced mentioning the gender has any more sinister implications, but if two people say so, then perhaps it does. Certainly none were intended.

    As for corruption elsewhere, I know it's pretty bad, and I know we're fairly good compared to the rest of the world. I simply can't believe we merit a place that high up the list of respectable, honest countries. Top 50, certainly – not top 15.