Cheques and balances
Following my posts about the pervasive corruption in Indonesia, Aangirfan
reminds us that few countries are 'clean'.Parliamentary sleaze
has a long and dishonourable tradition in the UK.
Britain's Labour Party is particularly notorious: local authorities from Newcastle with the Poulson Affair
in 1972, to Lambeth
in 1993, to Doncaster
in 1998 and to the sleaze allegations against the New Labour Party
of Tony Blair.Britain's Tories
are not immune from sleaze allegations either, although generally it has been individual politicians such as Jeffrey Archer and John Major in the spotlight.
In Australia, the recent death of former Queensland National Party Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen
, stirred up old resentments.Leading Aboriginal activist Sam Watson declared: "Pure and simple, Joh is a political thug who ruled this state for almost two decades as though it was his own private kingdom. His hillbilly administration was characterised by rampant corruption that infected every level of public administration and tainted the private sector. Leading business people fell into the habit of courting Joh's administration with paper bags that were filled with unmarked bills....
"Aboriginal people in particular have great cause to curse Joh and his government. For instance, many of my older relatives from the Cherbourg reserve were forced to work on Joh's peanut crops for $1 a day."
The Land of the Free (and Easy?) has Dick Cheney
I doubt that any 'developed' country is totally uncorrupt but my reasons for highlighting the corruption here are twofold:
1. I live here. Corruption is all-pervasive and no resident, Indonesian or expat, is untouched. I've 'given a present' at Soekarno-Hatta Airport and paid on-the-spot 'fines' to traffic policemen. The paperwork which enables me to live and work here is 'handled' by an agent; it's easier that way.
2. The checks and balances of public accountability through a free press and access to audited accounts are not yet in place here. It will probably take a generational change to effect a clean country.
I hope I live that long......