The revolving door of British politics is often dismissed, brushed under the rug or ignored due to its unreachable and masked nature – there are no laws against health ministers working for private health firms who directly benefit from its privatisation, but it doesn’t feel very democratic. But hey, it all makes sure our “Parliament is enhanced”, as George Osborne describes it. The revolving door analogy refers to the movement of personnel from legislative and regulatory bodies directly into the industries that are affected by that very legislation and regulation and vice versa. Remember George’s Osborne budget back in 2013 that was splashed all over headlines in papers like the Evening Standard? From now on George Osborne will be writing those very headlines as he takes up his new job: chief editor of the Evening Standard. George Osborne has received huge amounts of scrutiny over his new second job but I really don’t see why… as his job title satirically mirrors, it really is standard for members of Parliament to take up second jobs by which they can facilitate their vested interests. It is commonplace to see people who used to be journalists ruling the county, and people who used to rule the country becoming journalists – Boris Johnson and Michael Gove both have their humble beginnings in journalism to thank for their positions. Public office gives ministers many advantages: power over policy, access to the inner workings of government, influence and connections. As I mentioned earlier, it goes almost unquestioned for health ministers to take up jobs in private health companies or defence ministers to work in arms firms – and remember the sugar tax proposal that was so rigidly opposed by many Tories? Their Tory drinks party was sponsored, and attended by, the British Soft Drinks Association - (who are desperate to keep their tax rates low) – during the discussions over the sugar tax! That feels a bit more sinister.
The blurred distinction between the media and British political power has been increasing for decades, but having a serving member of government writing headlines about that very government in one of the most influential papers in England feels even more Machiavellian than usual. I dread to think what Osborne’s new power will manifest itself as during the next general election, especially following the power of the media in the 2015 election – where Ed Milliband’s bacon sandwich was actually deemed influential enough for a front page on The Sun. Corporate interests have become entrenched in the UK political process, big business is colonising British politics.
We will have to wait and see what George Osborne does with his new position. At least members of Parliament aren’t even trying to hide it anymore – British politics is becoming an elitist free-for-all, with a façade of Parliamentary “enhancement”.
Image Credits: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/election-2015-right-wing-british-press-launches-scathing-last-ditch-attack-red-ed-miliband-1499917