Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Global corruption

In the wake of my piece yesterday on the power of the internet, we see a laborious op-ed in The Daily Telegraph on precisely that theme.

This one is from Jeremy Hunt, shadow culture secretary, who argues that: " ... the internet allows the rebirth of communities and the strengthening of society in a way that its founders never envisaged. Understanding that simple fact has the power to transform the relationship between politicians and the people who give them their jobs.

This is the sort of lame waffle that you expect of politicians, who vaguely realise that there is a thing out there called the internet, but don't really understand it or begin to appreciate its power.

He does not, for instance, mention the storm of activity over the recent Climategate episode, the most recent and effective demonstration of internet power, which forced the issue onto the MSM agenda when most journalists were keen to bury it.

But what particularly Hunt fails to understand is that two things have happened to transform society, of which the internet is but one. The other is that corruption has gone global. Local politicians who take positions of power in their own countries can – as has Tony Blair – tap into an international network of influence and corruption, with vastly more opportunities for self-enrichment, freed from the restraints of local supervision and bodies like parliaments which were set up in another age to perform this function.

This is also where the MSM is trailing. Even our big national newspapers are basically local rags, more interested in the affairs of the local Westminster village. And many of the political blogs have fallen into the same trap. Parochial to a fault, they still regard the European Union as "foreign affairs" and the workings of the raft of international bodies such as the UN are foreign territory to them.

For political leaders in any one country, however – including our own – these bodies form a support group. They provide a network, an opportunity for grandstanding and the portal to untold riches and influence, all completely divorced from democratic controls and the legal restraints – which are also, essentially, parochial.

If you want to be a thief on a grand scale, become a politician in an international institution. You will be showered with honours and given a police escort to the airport and a taxpayer-funded first-calls ride to a destination of your choice, where you can spend your ill-gotten gains free from scrutiny. While the "locals" rip-off thousands and the occasional million, these crooks are into billions, sharing the spoils between them.

If you want global government, which as EURSOC points out has moved from the realms of the crank to a serious subject, it is already there in the form of that informal nexus of corruption which binds the "world leaders" and their fellow travellers, the international corporations and the raft of tranzie organisations, NGOs, faux charities and foundations.

And that is where the internet comes in. Like corruption, it too is global. It has become the global gamekeeper to catch the global poacher. The thieves can run but they cannot hide, for the internet represents the eyes and ears of a global community which, increasingly, is becoming tired of being ripped-off, tired of the impotence of their local politicians – whose only real interest is to get on board the international gravy train – and tired of being taken for fools.

Global corruption, therefore, looks to be the theme of the forthcoming year. It looks as if we are going to be busy.