View Full Version : Lobbying - the next big scandal?

11-01-2012, 08:57 PM
I really hope so


Also party donations. Not exactly the same, but pretty close


12-01-2012, 09:29 AM
There should be laws preventing political parties from raising over a certain amount. It's obvious that if there is no limit, big corporates will use this fact to buy influence. I agree that I hope this is the next scandal, but I can't see them introducing regulations to stop this whether it is briefly scandalous or not; it's simply too woven into modern political culture, especially with its massively expensive advertising campaigns.

12-01-2012, 12:14 PM
The trouble is, there's a difference -- albeit subtle and sometimes they overlap -- between party donations and lobbying. Anyone, and usually specific groups or individuals, can donate to a party. So for example, David Sainsbury donated a shed-load of money to New Labour, and Tony Blair gave him a peerage. There are hundreds of examples of donations equalling access, and it's very transparent, therefore easy to expose and legislate against.

Lobbying is more subtle, in that it's often employed by sectors rather than individuals. It also doesn't involve such traceable transations. It can range from wining and dining to writing pieces of legislation for ministers. That's a lot harder to clamp down on.

There's also an argument that lobbying is all part of the democratic process. Unlike party contributions, which are legal bribery and only available to the rich (and trade unions, but not their members). Lobbying can be said to be people simply petitioning elected representatives to consider a group's interests when making policy. I don't agree with this view, but a lot of people subscribe to it. There's a great Onion story entitled something like, "US people hire lobbyist to fight for their interests in Washington." They have it much worse -- in terms of contributions and lobbying -- in the US.

12-01-2012, 12:16 PM
p.s. the son of the Tory cabinet minister who has been hired by Bell Pottinger was in my politics classes at university. His name is Jimmy McLoughlin, and here is his Facebook if you'd like to send him a message letting him know your thoughts. I'm sure he'd love to hear your views. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=223408930

12-01-2012, 12:56 PM
They have it much worse -- in terms of contributions and lobbying -- in the US.

Well no-one would argue with that. The new Supreme Court 'money is speech' stroke of genius for one thing.



13-01-2012, 08:55 AM
That video is truly disgusting, it makes me want to chunder. Mitt Romney really does have the smirk of a guy who enjoys sending the bailiffs round to people's houses. So not only are corporations people, but these 'people' are now allowed to spend unlimited amounts on campaign donations and promotional materials, because spending money is a form of speech. Thanks, majority judges in the Citizens United (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission) case, you came up with some really interesting definitions, not found anywhere in the constitution.

So you'd think Ron Paul -- a guy who only ever votes 'yes' to a bill in the House if it's explicitly approved in the constitution -- would disagree with these definitions. But he doesn't. He and his right-wing friends want a free rein for corporations to hijack the political process and dick-slap citizens with their all-encompassing economic power, and call it 'libertarianism'. I'm sorry, Tea Party, but abolishing the minimum wage and returning to the social apartheid of the 1950s does nothing for personal freedoms.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court regards spending money on elections as a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. But actually voting in elections isn't regarded as so expressive. So if you're a convicted felon in some US states, you can't vote, even if you've been released from jail. The Supreme Court could say this is unconstitutional, since voting is a form of expression, and ex-cons have equal rights once they've been released. But it hasn't.