I’ve just – a little late – watched the Dispatches programme. Uggh! what odious slimeballs they all are.
Hoon was despicable as Defence secretary; but the work he’s bragging about now – finding lame-duck European arms-makers to flog to the Americans, influenced by a Nato-wide series of national Strategic Defence Reviews fitting within a framework he’s working out and developing – beggars belief. It’s pretty close to high treason, and in another age there would have been no doubt and we would today be seeing his gory head on a pike on London Bridge.
And these were just the ones who were willing to talk to Anderson Perry. Plenty more of them will have been in discussions with real Anderson Perry firms.
But the ethical standards they reveal are all too commonplace in business. They’re playing by the same rules; and while we are rightly repelled by what they have done, how many people working in the higher cadres in the private sector can honestly say that they’ve never sat in on a meeting where similar deals were discussed in similar tones? It’s right that we hold people in public life to account, because they are accountable to us – but what about the corporate executives who do deals shrouded in “commercial confidentiality”, accountable to their shareholders only in name?
Transparency is the word of the day – Baroness Morgan said she tried to be transparent. “Reasonably transparent” is not enough. If they want to be transparent, here’s what they should do:
– Put their income online, in real-time. Let’s see where the money comes from;
– Put their diaries online, in real-time. Let’s see who they meet and when.