'Former Labour cabinet ministers have been accused of offering to use their political influence in return for payments of thousands of pounds. MPs Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, Geoff Hoon and Margaret Moran – who are all standing down at the next election – were secretly recorded discussing financial payment with an uncover reporter posing as a company executive looking to hire MPs for lobbying work.'
This revelation is a far, far worse scandal than the 'MPs expenses' story. The first one was one of taking too much out of the kitty, of being rather greedy and wanting more than was their due by claiming expenses on the taxpayers purse. It is understandable. A culture builds up, it becomes 'standard procedure' but democracy itself is not under threat. During the expenses scandal it was not apparant that our MPs, our elected representatives were subverting democracy. Now, a new scandal, and I would imagine this is the tip of the iceberg, has emerged. The implications of it are far-reaching and deeply disturbing.
Here is why. According to The Telegraph report...
'Mr Byers, the former trade and transport secretary, is alleged to have described himself as “like a sort of cab for hire” for up to £5,000 a day, echoing Mohamed al-Fayed's revelation 16 years ago that you can "hire an MP the way you hire a London taxi."
The Dispatches and Sunday Times investigation also alleges that Miss Hewitt, a former health secretary, claimed she was paid £3,000 a day to help a client obtain a key seat on a Government advisory group.
Mr Hoon, the former defence secretary, offered to lead delegations to ministers and said he was looking to turn his knowledge and contacts into “something that frankly makes money”, and added he charged £3,000 a day.
Miss Moran, the disgraced Luton MP who was forced to pay back £22,500 in expenses, boasted she could telephone a “girls’ gang” of colleagues to help clients, including Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary, Hazel Blears, the former communities secretary, and Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour party.'
The Catholic Church tries (or, at least, traditionally tries...it appears that modernity has choked Her Bishops) to influence Government through reasoned argument. The Church, for all of the now well disclosed faults of Her members, does not offer money to the Government to change policy or lobby Government ministers with hard cash. I would imagine that this culture of buying MPs interest is alien to the culture of the Catholic Church. Yet, it clearly exists.
Now, lets just imagine that our MPs were offered cash by say, groups working to further the abortion industry, or powerful groups working to gain access to human embryos for experimentation?
Don't they call that blood money?
If MPs, even were it only a few Government ministers, are taking money or have been taking money from powerful lobbying groups seeking change in Government policy then all of the arguments and petitions made by those against this Governments fiercely anti-Life agenda would have been pointless. Why? Because a proportion of MPs, and influential ones at that, would have already allowed the money to make up their minds. If that happened, that is not just corruption, it is a dictatorship of the country by a small set of lobbying groups. It would amount to the subversion of democracy itself.