Brexit and the waning days of the United Kingdom

Started by Josquius, February 20, 2016, 07:46:34 AM

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How would you vote on Britain remaining in the EU?

British- Remain
12 (12%)
British - Leave
7 (7%)
Other European - Remain
21 (21%)
Other European - Leave
6 (6%)
ROTW - Remain
34 (34%)
ROTW - Leave
20 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 98

Tonitrus

Well...we in the West like to think of ourselves as "less corrupt"...I think we are more so...it is just far more advanced/higher-level while also less public-facing (e.g. the cops shaking down drivers/tourists for payoffs variety).

Jacob

You think places like China or Hungary has less high level corruption than we do in the West?

Sheilbh

Quote from: Josquius on February 11, 2024, 10:53:43 AMAs Sheilbh alluded to the entire purpose of the election is the election itself.
The tories have a safe majority and there's a GE coming later this year anyway.
The only thing they will accomplish is drawing attention to something of their choosing.
Seen as a way to nudge labour foreign policy for the next GE it does make sense.
That's Galloway's pitch - it's a protest vote. I'd point out that even without winning him entering an area's politics tends to leave a very sour, difficult sectarian/communal legacy and I've no doubt that'll happen in Rochdale too even if he doesn't win.

QuoteThe way to do it in this country is ot laugh such things away as incompetence. Surely in this place such insane money cannot possibly have corruption involved.
I think there's corruption at the local level with property development and construction. Similarly I think the VIP lane stuff reeks.

But my (limited) experience of high value procurement - so the multi-billion - with all the procurement rules involved and of dealing with the government make it very, very difficult to imagine corruption as a cause. Gups has said something similar as a planning lawyer who will have worked on big projects like this - I've got friends who work on the project side too and again it's really difficult to imagine how it oculd happen (and one came from shipping, so knows corruption when he sees it :lol:).

It isn't incompetence either - and I don't think anyone is saying that. It's the system and the structures that have been set up that (combined with ass-covering and other procurement issues) that make it so costly. It's bureaucratisation - and corruption is normally a way of making something happen. Now, having said all that, you look at the people involved and I imagine you have people moving from government bodies where they're lawyers or commercial folk or project people, to the vastly better paid private sector law firms, consultancies, construction firms who are now sat opposite their former colleagues. But again I think even if you describe that as corruption - it is of a structural type.

And in politics, as I say, I think it's about the post-retirmenet gigs. Schroeder with the Russians, Paul Keating regularly intervening in Australian politics while being paid as an advisor by numerous Chinese companies. Or Blair who I think exemplifies a lot of this with a for-profit wing that consults with, say, the Saudis or Kazakhs and a not-for-profit wing releasing policy papers and seconding/paying for advisors (several to Starmer now, and in several African countries entire "units" advising the head of government/state). Worth noting a lot of Blair's focus is on medical digitisation and leaning into emerging tech, I have no doubt given all of his politics that he sincerely believes that, but his major funder is Larry Ellison who has invested heavily in digital medical records etc.

The fact that if you're in Parliament you don't have to declare your income is a large part of why Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson have not gone into the Lords as was the norm for their predecessors (Baroness Thatcher, Baron Callaghan, Baron Wilson, Earl MacMillan etc). They can earn more and because they don't have to say where they come from they can be less discriminating (same also goes for PMs who stayed as MPs like Ted Heath, or, say, Theresa May seems inclined to do).
Let's bomb Russia!

Tonitrus

Quote from: Jacob on February 11, 2024, 05:39:36 PMYou think places like China or Hungary has less high level corruption than we do in the West?

No. They could have the worst of both worlds.  :P


Tonitrus

Also, part of our problem is that we've almost made it respectable...or at least, tacitly accepted (or are so jaded/apathetic to it that the difference is negligible).

Tamas

I'll obviously yield the point to Gups and Sheilbh who are infinitely more knowledgeable about it, even if I maintain my suspicions.

But as a general point, a rigorous regulatory environment is not a guarantee. In Hungary Orban barely loosened the strict rules around tendering etc, yet they don't for a moment prevent the breathtaking amounts of corruption and channeling of EU money to cronies and human wallets. You just work around it e.g. if a council must have several tender offers in to choose from and must define rigorous rules by which they can be awarded, they just have cronies apply as "competitors" and they make sure the very rigorous requirements are so rigorous that only a very particular company could adhere to them.


Josquius

I'd say it depends how you define "corruption".
For sure the bloated expenses et al are more down to incompetence than syphoning off cash for an executives yacht as you might see elswhere.
But there absolutely are elements of old boys clubs and politicians with fingers in various pies and all that kind of thing which determines just who gets to take on the overly bloated contracts.
I'd say that too is corruption, albeit of a very different form to the overt cash for cronies stuff you get elsewhere.
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Tamas

Quote from: Josquius on February 12, 2024, 03:52:10 AMI'd say it depends how you define "corruption".
For sure the bloated expenses et al are more down to incompetence than syphoning off cash for an executives yacht as you might see elswhere.
But there absolutely are elements of old boys clubs and politicians with fingers in various pies and all that kind of thing which determines just who gets to take on the overly bloated contracts.
I'd say that too is corruption, albeit of a very different form to the overt cash for cronies stuff you get elsewhere.

Yes I would very much classify that as corruption.

Tamas

BTW it's worth noting that in the Rochdale byelection, the Labour candidate who is not anti-Israel enough for Galloway's supporters is still pretty anti-semitic:

QuoteLabour's Rochdale byelection candidate apologises 'unreservedly' to Jewish community after Israel comments
The Labour candidate for the 29 February Rochdale byelection, Azhar Ali, has "apologised unreservedly to the Jewish community" for comments which he described as "deeply offensive, ignorant and false."

After comments emerged in which he suggested Israel had allowed the 7 October to happen in order to have a pretext to attack Gaza, he said "Hamas's horrific terror attack was the responsibility of Hamas alone, and they are still holding hostages who must be released."

Describing them as "my inexcusable comments", Ali said that "the Labour party has changed unrecognisably under Keir Starmer's leadership" after years in which it has been claimed the party had failed to deal adequetly with antisemitism.

Pat McFadden, Labour's national campaign coordinator, said Ali's comments were "completely wrong" and did not represent the party's view, but that he would remain the party's candidate for the byelection, where Labour faces a challenge from George Galloway.

McFadden told Sky News: "He's issued a complete apology and retraction. And I hope he learns a good lesson from it because he should never have said something like that in the first place."

A recording obtained by the Mail on Sunday quoted Ali saying: "The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel 10 days earlier. Americans warned them a day before there's something happening. They deliberately took the security off". He went on to suggest Israel allowed a "massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want."

Josquius

Didn't he just say Israel let the attack happen?
Ignorant and offensive to Israelis I get. I hope he just misspoke and didn't mean quite that.
But anti semitic? We really need to stop this conflation.
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The Brain

He probably meant to say "the Netanyahu regime". Not Israel.
Women want me. Men want to be with me.

Sheilbh

Quote from: Tamas on February 12, 2024, 03:34:21 AMBut as a general point, a rigorous regulatory environment is not a guarantee. In Hungary Orban barely loosened the strict rules around tendering etc, yet they don't for a moment prevent the breathtaking amounts of corruption and channeling of EU money to cronies and human wallets. You just work around it e.g. if a council must have several tender offers in to choose from and must define rigorous rules by which they can be awarded, they just have cronies apply as "competitors" and they make sure the very rigorous requirements are so rigorous that only a very particular company could adhere to them.
So again I think there is corruption at the local government level - partly because there's less press attention, but also because I think they're lower value there's also less challenge in the courts. Plus in the case of Liverpool the big corruption scandal was even called the New Chinatown Project which sounds like it would be a big corruption scandal in a movie :lol:

It's a few years ago but within procurement it was almost seen as inevitable that a tender decision would be challenged by at least some of the competitors. Speaking from IT/tech perspective government contracts for even relatively low level work are massive (and the government always pays its bills on time, so they're great from a cash flow perspective too) - so if your bid loses and you have an arguable case it is worth challenging. I remember the case a few years ago on the tender for nuclear de-commissioning which was, I think, worth £9 billion over several years. The losing bidder sued and won resulting in a £100 million settlement in their favour, early termination of the contract and a re-run of the procurement process and a public inquiry (as well as at least two parliamentary inquiries). That's the worst case scenario in the back of everyone's minds and why there is so much ass-covering and so much process and so many layers of process and review etc. My understanding is that in basically every procurement legal challenge by other bidders is always the number one risk even over project failure :lol:

I'd add that the public inquiry actually said that in many respects it was a well-run procurement process that really should have gone well: they had a model that was well used and known by the market, they had "multi-level governance" with good stakeholder management, good market engagement, appropriate policies, were appropriately resourced team, regular reporting etc. But they got the strategy wrong and fucked up on the scoring of tenders - basically I think they allowed too much to be "fixed" after the tender had been won which amounted to a significantly different enough contract than that which was tendered to be unfair on other bidders.

As I say, unless the corruption is a structural one of lawyers and consultants (which I don't rule out), I don't think all of that is explicable by corruption. I'd also add that ministers are often not involved in a lot of this - obviously it varies by department so I think procurement is a bigger deal for the MoD or Transport say. But even then a lot of the work and decisions will be taken by an arms' length body of one sort or other (that was definitely the case in the nuclear decommissioning example). After Fujitsu and people laughing about the fact that our procurement rules mean government can't consider a supplier's past performance as a factor in a tender, there was a minister who came out and said they asked for this information and the civil service refused to provide it because it would risk making the procurment unlawful. I believe that story, that sounds true to me - but the consequence is the civil service will then report up a recommendation with a tender score for the minister to sign off and if it all goes wrong (because Serial Failure Ltd yet again fails to deliver) the minister will get the blame.

I think it is really difficult because there's a huge risk of corruption, but I think we are too far the other way (whcih is also expensive just in a different way). Obviously any reform will be met with howls of it allowing corruption and creating a risk of jobs for the boys, but I suspect that will mainly come from, say, lawyers and consultants who currently benefit from the system and are also a vested interest. I particularly think there's probably a need for a simplifed process which I think should be available for anything to do with energy transition/net zero given that I think that needs to be more of a priority than the risk of an unfair procurement process (but I do believe in the climate emergency stuff).
Let's bomb Russia!

Josquius

Thinking about it more, I do expect we've a lot of "unintentional" corruption.

Like if you're in charge of sewer building a local area then over the years in the job you'll build up relations with available contractors to do this work. And in a niche area there aren't likely to be many with the equipment and skills to do the work.
This could really give the appearance of corruption since you're always choosing your golf friend to have his firm do the multi million pound works... But objectively he is the one best placed to do it.

...so....could a lot of it again be our problems with "social (corporate?) mobility" and it being very hard for a firm starting up to unseat those already basically with local monopolies unless you're bringing in another local monopoly to compete?
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Sheilbh

I think that's a really big issue and it's not just local. In part, as I say, I think it's because there's less of a career path (or the pay to reward it) for certain skills in civil service so you move to the private sector which is often going to be exactly the companies you've previously appointed/worked with as a supplier. In part that also reflects the smallness of those markets too - and it depends on weighting. The civil service weighting is constantly trying to push for other priorities but it basically always comes back to "value for taxpayer money" so cost is where the competition is - and I think that broadly favours big players (plus again the size of government contracts makes it very, very difficult for anyone but the biggest to compete).

Again I'm reminded of Labour under Ed Miliband proudbly announcing that they were going to stop working with G4S as the provider of security at party conference over G4S' shoddy labour practices. Only once Labour went out to tender for that they found that basically the only other company who could provide what they needed on those timelines was Serco which was not much better and, for that contract, more expensive - so they ended up having to re-appoint G4S.

In a way though, sometimes it's almost corruption of these giant multi-nationals rather than government. There are these consultants all around who basically used to work for, say Oracle or Microsoft, who go around selling their experience to customers negotiating with Oracle or Microsoft on how to get the best deal.
Let's bomb Russia!

Tamas

Quote from: Josquius on February 12, 2024, 05:20:12 AMDidn't he just say Israel let the attack happen?
Ignorant and offensive to Israelis I get. I hope he just misspoke and didn't mean quite that.
But anti semitic? We really need to stop this conflation.

So are we saying that not all anti-Israel conspiration theorists are anti-semites? Ok but surely it's safe to assume that all anti-semites are anti-Israel conspiration theorists, so I don't think it is an entirely unfounded theory that somebody whose first reaction to the terror attack was to blame it on the victims in a pattern very reminiscent of anti-semite lines of thinking, might, just, be an anti-semite. But sure I concede there's a theoretical chance he is not.