Friday, 25 September 2009

Cleaning up (the other sort).

The Times reveals today that David Cameron is making good his claim to be cleaning up politics. It is alleged that 28 Conservative parliamentary candidates for safe seats are working for lobbying companies, whilst more than a fifth of his 150 candidates most likely to win seats for the first time will have done public affairs work.

To be fair, none of the three main parties has any kind of policy nor desire to reduce the influence of lobbyists on government - a situation recently referred to by President Obama as blocking 'the revolving door'. However it is the Conservatives, seemingly on the brink of power for whom the lobbying issue is of the greatest concern.

So what is David Cameron going to do about it? We can assume that he is having sleepless nights right now worrying about whether he can offer the British people, 'government of the people, by the people, for the people ...' and whether he can really offer them the 'transparency' that he so desires.

Because he is a Conservative, Cameron is seen as a man who can most likely offer Britain 'smaller government'. He will no doubt be aware that the reason government exists in the first place is because it offers 'critical mass' to individuals and groups of individuals.... because team effort achieves more than rogue behaviour in so many instances in life.

The question is: Is he aware that some groups and 'teams' in society sometimes find themselves wielding more power than others? Does money, inheritance, existing power etc., play a part in deciding for whom that government of the people actually exists? And does he understand that these questions are crucial if he really wants to achieve the goal of open, transparent, fair government?

Of course he does. He is an Old Etonian and he will have learnt that just as on the playing fields of Eton, so in a just society you have to play by the rules. He will know that those rules must be transparent and fair to all who play... Let's just hope that he knows exactly which rules everybody should play by...