Socialist Worker

Lobbying sleaze is business as usual

Published Tue 6 Dec 2011
Issue No. 2282

Tory sleaze was back in the headlines this week when the Independent newspaper ran an exposé on PR firm Bell Pottinger.

Undercover reporters taped Bell Pottinger’s bosses boasting about how they used their connections with top Tories to influence the government.

They claimed to have persuaded David Cameron to chat to the Chinese prime minister on behalf of engineering firm Dyson.

They bragged about how they helped cover up the Uzbekistan government’s grisly human rights record. They also lobbied the European Union on behalf of the Belarus dictatorship.

Readers of Socialist Worker will hardly be surprised by the latest revelations.

Bell Pottinger is the Tories’ favourite PR firm. It is chaired by Tim Bell, Margaret Thatcher’s PR man, and has given £11,900 to the Tories over the past year.

Bell Pottinger’s clients include Rebekah Brooks, the disgraced former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

The PR firm was also at the centre of attempts in 2009 to gag media reports about oil firm Trafigura’s involvement in the dumping of toxic waste in Africa.

Other charmers on Bell Pottinger’s client list include the Bahraini regime. It ordered the brutal massacre of pro-democracy protesters earlier this year.

And just to tie things up in a neat circle, guess who Bahrain has hired to help “reform” its thuggish police force? They’ve turned to John Yates, former assistant commissioner at the Metrpolitan Police.

Yates resigned over the hacking scandal earlier this year while dismissing claims that he had a relationship with Brooks.

This merry-go-round of cash, connections and corruption is not some kind of aberration disfiguring an otherwise spotless system.

It is business as usual. This is how the ruling class operates and how it hopes to maintain control over the rest of us.

You have sleazeball lobbyists and Murdoch’s rags at one end. Then there’s the police top brass in Britain and Bahrain. And then there are the vicious politicians and regimes around the world.

They are all in it together, doing whatever it takes to protect their class interests—and making a packet in the process.

The rest of us need an even higher level of solidarity and consciousness if we are to take on their rule and bring them down.


Article information

What We Think
Tue 6 Dec 2011, 17:55 GMT
Issue No. 2282
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