This is not a corrupt country. Corruption exists, and often it is driven much more by friendship than by money.
I have little doubt that we will become much more corrupt in the years to come because the forces that restrain it are growing weaker.
But it would be very silly if we tried to decide our political future on the basis that one of the big parties was more corrupt than the other.
Both of those parties are terrible, but corruption is not really the problem. In fact accusations of corruption against your opponents are incessant in truly corrupt countries, such as modern China. But the corruption continues.
I know Britain is not corrupt because I lived in the Soviet Union, which was corrupt.
Britain is not a corrupt country. Corruption exists, and often it is driven much more by friendship than by money. I have little doubt that we will become much more corrupt in the years to come because the forces that restrain it are growing weaker. But it would be very silly if we tried to decide our political future on the basis that one of the big parties was more corrupt than the other
Accusations of corruption against your opponents are incessant in truly corrupt countries, such as modern China
People seem to think that modern Russia, with its oligarchs and grotesque billionaires, began when Communism fell.
On the contrary, it arose out of the Communist system, where huge blocks of unchallenged power flourished untouched by weak and servile media, and unrestrained by equally weak and servile courts.
This was everywhere. At the very top, the elite lived in secret luxury concealed from the people. In some parts of the USSR that elite could enrich itself through control of major industries.
I know Britain is not corrupt because I lived in the Soviet Union, which was corrupt. People seem to think that modern Russia, with its oligarchs and grotesque billionaires, began when Communism fell. On the contrary, it arose out of the Communist system, where huge blocks of unchallenged power flourished untouched by weak and servile media, and unrestrained by equally weak and servile courts
When the regime finally collapsed, open gangsterism broke out to get control of the assets the Communist Party had once controlled. But almost every part of life was oiled and greased by bribery.
If you wanted a decent flat, you paid a bribe to get it. If you wanted your dentist to use anaesthetic, you paid a bribe to get it.
Because money was little use, the bribes often took the shape of ‘gifts’, ranging from a video-recorder to a bottle of brandy.
At the most basic level, you could not get into a restaurant without bribing the doorman, or get served without bribing the waiter.
Look at the admission by the former Afghan finance minister Khalid Payenda (above), who now says that corrupt officials created ‘ghost soldiers’ who made up most of the 300,000 troops and police on the government’s books – so generals could trouser their wages
If the traffic police stopped you, usually for an imaginary offence, it was advisable to hand the officer a ten-rouble note (in those days the normal Soviet salary was about 350 roubles a month) folded into your driving licence. Foreigners paid more. And so on.
I started by resolving I would not do these things. I found very quickly that I could neither live nor work without becoming part of it. That is corruption. It corrupts everyone all the time.
If you want to see this sort of thing at its most monstrous level, then look at the admission by the former Afghan finance minister Khalid Payenda, who now says that corrupt officials created ‘ghost soldiers’ who made up most of the 300,000 troops and police on the government’s books – so generals could trouser their wages.
That is why the Afghan Army vanished so totally. It never truly existed.
We have nothing like this here. Most people do their jobs honestly and without trying to extort bribes. Be very grateful for it.
In Garrison Keillor’s fictional US township of Lake Wobegon, ‘all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average’.
In real-life England, one state secondary school in five is ‘outstanding’. You can’t really blame Ofsted for trying to get this ridiculous number down.
But given what happened to ‘A’ grade exams and first-class university degrees, expect a big struggle. Why not just say they are all outstanding, then all the Left-wing people can believe it and the rest of us can laugh.
As I strolled across central Oxford the other day, admiring the ancient buildings which are so much more inspiring than what goes on inside them now, I began to allocate them new names.
Ho Chi Minh College here, Oswald Mosley College there, Blair College, Clinton College… So much more fitting for their modern purposes than the lovely old Christian or noble names they still bear.
Perhaps they could call the whole thing Facebook University, since Facebook itself no longer needs the name?
And Cambridge, which really ought to have a Mao College by now, given how many of its academics are on good terms with the People’s Republic, could be the University of Google.
Guilty… the system that has surrendered on drugs
All the characters in the entertaining BBC drama Showtrial seem to think that drug-taking is entirely normal.
When two murder suspects say vaguely they had been taking all sorts of drugs on the night of the killing, the police and prosecutors just accept it as a matter of course. The same thing happens when it comes up in court.
Drug-taking, though it involves the serious crime of possession, is just not interesting or relevant. A drug dealer, likewise, is portrayed as being about as wicked as a milkman.
Suspect: Celine Buckens as Talitha in the BBC’s Showtrial. All the characters in the entertaining BBC drama seem to think that drug-taking is entirely normal
I would say this does not just reflect BBC attitudes (though it does), it is true to life. This is how our criminal justice system thinks and acts. It has given up on drugs, just when it should be fighting hard against them.
Without giving anything away about the ending, it strikes me that the horrible, pointless crime portrayed in this series would never have happened if nobody had taken any drugs.
Killing people is hard. Soldiers have to be more or less bullied into it by training in obedience and dehumanisation. A normal person cannot kill, even if he holds a knife or a gun. Yet a person out of their mind on drugs can kill another human with a ballpoint pen.
Much of the violence in our midst is pointless. People are stabbed for nothing, or beaten by assailants in wild frenzies.
The website Attacker Smoked Cannabis keeps a list of such crimes, now so common that national media no longer bother to report most of them.
What has changed in our society to bring this about? It is our almost total surrender to the presence of drugs.
Who’ll admit creating See It. Say It. Sorted?
All travellers on public transport dread the incessant repetition of the slogan ‘See it. Say it. Sorted’, which is supposed to encourage us to get in touch with the British Transport Police (BTP). It has now been inflicted on us since November 2016, with no sign that it will ever end.
The advertising agency that created it, AML, defends it, saying ‘texts and calls relating to suspicious circumstances have increased by 365 per cent’. This is – sort of – right, but not as good as it looks.
BTP told me they had 45 reports between December 2016 and November 2017, and 216 between December 2018 and November 2019.
This is, in fact, an increase of 380 per cent, which just goes to show that percentages can make things look much bigger than they are. But it strikes me it is a poor return for 11,000 posters, plus unceasing announcements in 5,000 stations and 13,000 trains.
The chant is so annoying you can see people hunch their shoulders as it is broadcast yet again.
Famous persons quite often claim to be the authors of successful advertising phrases, such as ‘Go to Work on an Egg’. But nobody will take responsibility for this one, which I think has irritated more people more quickly than any other five-word phrase in history.
When I called AML at its offices in trendy Shoreditch, East London, the agency would not reveal the identity of the author. It sent me to the Department for Transport, which referred me to BTP, which doesn’t know. If they are all so embarrassed about it, could they please stop inflicting it on us?
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Source: Daily Mail UK