THE BLOG

The Lib Dems and 'the Prostitute State'

07/03/2014 12:00 | Updated 06 May 2014

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This Saturday I will speak at a Lib Dem Conference fringe meeting, for the first time since my resignation was demanded by the Lib Dem President Navnit Dholakia. This was for daring to tell conference that the leadership was refusing to implement the ban passed by conference on Lib Dem Peers working as corporate lobbyists. I am speaking on the crisis in the UK's democracy caused by the corruption of The Prostitute State.

This state has four main pillars - a captured media, a hijacked academia, a criminal tax-haven system and political prostitution.

1. Five right-wing billionaires control over 80% of UK newspapers sold daily. They also own vast swathes of our TV, film and book industries, thus exerting an iron grip on almost everything our democracy thinks about.

2. Our education system including schools, universities and think-tanks including the Lib Dem Centre Forum are increasingly corrupted by corporate capture. This is destroying the crucial independence of intellectual thought vital for a thriving democracy.

3. Almost all large donations to the major political parties including the Lib Dems over the last decade have been connected with shady international tax-havens. Tax-havens are instrumental in shifting the tax-burden from corporations onto ordinary taxpayers and the creation of huge public-spending deficits. They enable the wealth of the poorest nations to be funnelled into UK banks, leaving a trail of poverty, disease, and environmental destruction in their wake.

4. Our major political parties have been perverted by a corporate lobbying elite. And like the other major parties the Liberal Democrats have also been prostituted.

From the domination of its leadership by corporate lobbyists to its tax-haven dominated donors, from the alleged sale of peerages to the cosy corporate receptions at its party conferences, it is no wonder the party repeatedly betrays the democratic policies adopted by its party conference.

Whole swathes of the party's top echelons are or were corporate lobbyists, including Nick Clegg, his wife, his General-Election Treasurer, his Director of Government Relations, his former Chief-Executive, the Scottish Lib Dem leader, former leader Charles Kennedy's Chief of Staff, David Law's partner, Chris Huhne's partner, Ming Campbell MP and the list goes on.

The nuclear, genetic-engineering, fracking, private equity, financial, pesticides and arms corporations all employ senior Lib Dems to adapt government policies to their vested interests. It is the same in the other parties. The political classes have become the corporate lobbying classes. An angry public is sensing that no matter who they vote for the corporate lobbyists win.

The Lib Dems party-funding has been as scandalous as the other parties. It ranges from the stolen millions funnelled from the Swiss tax-haven by jailed fraudster Michael Brown to British Virgin Island tax-haven based private-health corporations (as the Lib Dems work with Labour and Tory lobbyists to sell off the NHS) and arrested arms dealers.

Nick Clegg's General Election Treasurer Lord Clement Jones was a lobbyist for the notorious tax-haven the Cayman Islands, breaking party rules on parliamentary lobbying. Even its former leader David Steel admits that like the other parties, it is those with large cheque-books who get the party's nominations to the Lords, rather than those democratically elected by the party.

As rich corporate elites now control the production of thought, the dissemination of thought, the implementation of thought and the funding of thought, we no longer live in a democracy but The Prostitute State.

But societies have successfully overcome such odds before. The UK did in the 19th century, when the Reform Acts overcame the aristocracy and the US did with their anti-trust laws.
Britain needs a 21st Century Great Democratic Reform Act. Ban politicians from becoming corporate lobbyists, free our Fourth Estate from billionaire-control, restore academia's intellectual freedom and close the tax-havens. Global environmental catastrophes and the destruction of social justice are overwhelming us and we need to act urgently.

The question for the Lib Dems is whether they will remain part of the problem or will they roll up their sleeves and clean out their own stables and then join with civic society to establish The Democratic State?

Donnachadh McCarthy FRSA is a former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats. His third book The Prostitute State will be published later this year. He is not a member of any political party.