CROSS-PARTY COMMENT on the revolving door – vested interest in politics
PASC calls for a register of lobbying activity: Stronger safeguards also needed on the ‘revolving door’ between government and business.
Public Administration Select Committee Chairman Tony Wright, Labour MP, said: “Lobbying enhances democracy, but it can also subvert it ‘. . . . Our proposals may seem radical, but they are designed to be proportionate and effective. They are in line with developments abroad, but rooted in our own political tradition. Transparency is key here. There is a public interest in knowing who is lobbying whom about what. Our proposals show that this can be achieved in a reasonably straightforward way”.
Lorely Burt MP, Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party, letter 15.6.09: The report from the Public Administration Select Committee highlighted that in-house lobbyists are subject to no regulation from an independent body, and display little self-regulation when attempting to influence decision makers . . . I believe that the rules should be looked at in order to establish an agreed framework by which those found guilty of abusing their position for financial gain can be punished effectively.
Conservative parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith: letter 1.6.09 I have always thought that big business exerts disproportionate influence on policy decisions . . . and believe this is something we really must get to grips with . . . In his latest book: ’ At the national level, politics is increasingly seen as a power game restricted to remote elites We don’t have a democracy in this country . . . and it is a profound problem. Power is not in the hands of the people. The way we do politics now is fundamentally flawed. . The overall result is a feeling of helplessness, a sense that power is not in the hands of the people, but in the hands of unconcerned and unrepresentative cabals. If the government decrees that genetically modified foods are safe and consequently removes what little protection exists for the British consumer – well, we have no choice but to accept it, even if science and public opinion say we shouldn’t.
Caroline Lucas, Green MEP: by email 1.2.10
I have seen at first hand how far the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, for example, will go to obstruct regulation that threatens their power and profits. So, I am convinced that exposing and curbing corporate influence must be high on any ‘to do’ list for better government. The Green Party believes that freedom of information, and openness of government and its procedures, are integral principles in the creation of a more democratic and decentralised society. We, therefore, support measures such as stricter registering of financial and non-financial interests, and state funding of political parties as a way of taking politics out of the hands of big business and the influence of the super-rich.
2008 statement on EU lobbying – see http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2722