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This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at markwadsworth.blogspot.com isn't working
From the BBC:
Legislation aimed at making it easier to prosecute companies who make corrupt payments abroad has come into force.
The Bribery Act overhauls existing laws dating back to 1889 and creates offences that carry prison terms of up to 10 years and unlimited fines. It makes it illegal to offer or receive bribes and to fail to prevent bribery.
Both British and foreign companies are covered, provided they have some operations in the UK. The act also applies to individuals. The government says the act will cement the UK’s position as a global leader in the fight against business corruption.
Clearly, we ought to make bribery and corruption illegal within the UK because we are the ones being robbed (i.e. if civil servants enter into contracts on unfavourable terms for the taxpayer), although the UK government is pretty much world champion at this – if politiicians were held up to the same standards, they’d all be behind bars.
As to abroad, it’s difficult to approve of bribery, but ‘everybody else does it’ so if a UK business doesn’t get the contract, then somebody else will. Although it’s a negative sum game, it’s a bit like piracy, which was good for the UK for the simple reason that we were better at it than everybody else.
But think about it – if you are trying to bribe an official, where is it going to be easier – in a democratic country which is financed by taxes, or in a despotic country that is kept afloat with aid payments? The latter, surely, and didn’t our government recently boast about how much aid it wants us to pay, waffling on about soft power and all that?
To cut a long story short, the quickest way to reduce bribery and corruption would be to reduce government spending and especially aid spending.