So, today’s trial is about corruption. The corruption that allowed the News of the World to act with impunity for so long, and which has arguably meant that even in this scenario – the ultimate parties responsible, the Murdoch family, have been dealt with kid gloves. They’ve renamed their Sunday paper, missed out on the BskyB bid, but retain every bit the political and economic clout they had before the exposure.
Regular readers know that despite being a Brit, and reasonably proud to be so, I tend to get rather rattled at the corruption which I think has reached epidemic proportions in the UK.
People point to places like Bangladesh which regularly comes up as one the most corrupt countries in the world (144th out of 174 for transparency according to Transparency International) but over the years living here I simply find that the country points a finger right back at me and mine.
Not that Bangladeshis are accusing the UK of corruption – far from it! Most I’ve spoken to still see Britain as the land of ‘golden opportunity’. Most dream of being rich enough to afford the visa fees and travel to go there; to scrape a living clearing restaurant tables while feeding their family back in their village by sending paltry amounts home the equivalent of a month’s wages back here. No, they hate the corruption so widespread in Bangladesh but mistakenly think the UK is free of it.
What I hate about the difference (and neither is good) – and what is picked up in Scriptonite’s post if you read slightly between the lines – is that in Bangladesh the corruption is illegal, open and wrong. In Britain, corruption is legal, behind closed doors and not just ‘right’ but encouraged.
The Phone-hacking scandal is just one example from many of how people in high positions responsible for something morally repugnant and condemned by all can continue to enjoy their riches, power and prestige because of the influence of their equally rich and powerful friends – the Chipping Norton set as described here.
And we love it. We continue to believe the lie that if we make regulations, set rules, make everyone accountable and prevent the merest sniff of anything that could be misused in any way from occurring that, somehow, those that want to do wrong will somehow be persuaded not to. The answer, it seems, is always to ‘legislate’ the system and never to hold each other morally accountable as human beings. this would be great if it actually worked, but it doesn’t. Bad people still do bad things just as much as ever.
Only now we find the ordinary person, just trying to make an honest crust, increasingly powerless to prevent everyone from power companies, to their boss, to the Government itself squeezing them with things that are just plain wrong, but have been made ‘right’ – by the ‘system’. Like Kafka’s Joseph K in The Trial we seem to be heading to a sentence of our own making, ‘like a dog’ without ever really knowing what it was we supposedly did wrong in the first place.
And you can be sure the likes of Brooks and Coulson will be overseeing it all.
- UK phone-hacking trial opens for top Murdoch aides (news.yahoo.com)