Corruption

Corruption is like slurry. It trickles down from the top, staining everyone on the way and pooling around those at the bottom who’re forced to wade through it to the contempt of those at the top.

Frankly it stinks. It’s not just the world of kickbacks and favours, the charity bosses who feel that they should be paid over 100K ‘because they’re worth it.’ It’s the world of the BBC where apparently a quarter of executives got payoffs that there probably illegal. Why that particular quarter? Are they the ones whose faces fitted, who did the right courses at the right universities, sat on the right think-tanks and floated on the edge of the correct political parties?

But we see if everywhere, the degradation of society. People who cannot be bothered to do the job they’re paid to do; people who seem to get their kicks, not through their own achievements but by stopping other people doing things. (Have you noticed, the ‘precautionary principle’ is only ever used to stop ‘them’ doing what they want to do; it is never used to stop ‘us’ doing what we want to do.)

And of course when you stir hypocrisy into the mix, then it really does stink. The BBC had great fun tearing into senior clergy about child abuse, and now, slowly and painfully, their own squalid idols are being dragged out of retirement and thrust blinking into the spotlight.
And it’s the spotlight that we need. A bright light shining into the murk; the stone turned over so the bloated things wiggle and squirm to get out of the sun. Let the light in, let the truth be seen then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Let’s see how much these people earn, let’s see how much of our money is being poured into their gaping maws. Let’s watch them wallow in the world of Christian Louboutin footwear bought on Civil Service credit cards.
Let’s turn the light on them.

And where does the light come from? Well I’ll give you an example. I know a lady who is a teacher. The school she’s teaching at got involved, peripherally in an ‘incident’ that made the national newspapers.
The local education authority piled in, blamed everything on the headmaster and harried and hounded him into retiring. The lady was one of the few, along with the school secretary, who stood by him. Who drove him home the day he broke down in tears in his office; who told various ‘worthies’, various members of the ‘great and the good,’ both authority staff and union reps, exactly what she thought of them. Of course she hasn’t got a career, but sometimes it’s good to remember the words;-
“Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being.”

And this is where the light comes from. It shines out of the Sikh train manager I saw comforting a lost old lady, it shines out of the policeman who sizes up the situation and defuses it, giving two lads a chance to patch things up and avoid a criminal record; it shines out of the teacher who works endlessly to try and get her charges to just behave decently.
It shines out of the paramedic at the side of the road who’s done too many hours already but isn’t quitting until this person is safe. It shines out of the taxi driver who stops the meter before he carries the old dear’s shopping in for her, and puts it on the shelves; because that he does in HIS time, not the company’s time.
It shines out of the accountant who at the end of a long day sits down with a young couple and shows them how to get their books in order so that their little business can grow, and all for no more that a clumsily muttered thank you.

You see, these people and the light that shines out of them set a standard, a benchmark. They draw the line in the sand that we can look at and wonder. We can ask ourselves whether we’ve got the guts to cross the line and get out of the slurry. They are the ones who shine like stars amidst a twisted and perverted society.
And it’s by their light that we can grow. It’s their light that helps us set our direction. But have we the courage they have, have we what it takes?
Or are we happy to wallow in the stench provided we get our share?

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6 thoughts on “Corruption

  1. willmacmillanjones August 12, 2013 at 10:59 am Reply

    It’s a great post Jim, but there’s something you’ve missed. That’s the casual, insidious way the muck spreads. “They are all doing it, so what’s the harm if I do it too?” It’s when ‘perks’ slide from the odd paperclip or pen from the office to a full box of printer ink: the ‘look after this for me and I’ll see you right’ crosses the line from going the extra mile for someone to doing something a bit dodgy: when the self employed tradesman moves from slipping the odd fiver into his back pocket to setting out to do all his jobs for cash…

    None of us are whiter than white – we just have to live with who we are.

  2. jwebster2 August 12, 2013 at 11:20 am Reply

    Absolutely, no one is white than white. But one thing I have noticed. When the state meddles too deeply, when bureaucracy crowds in too close; people can play the system start to feel like freedom fighters.
    At a silly level, I’ve never smoked, but when some of the anti-smoking groups start pontificating on the radio I have to fight the impulse to walk into a shop and buy a packet of twenty.
    I think we need the state to back off and start treating us like adults. I also think that we have to take back control of the state and to make sure that those who are employed in our name stop lording it over us and get their snouts out of the trough.

  3. M T McGuire August 13, 2013 at 8:38 pm Reply

    Moral courage is really hard the first time but if you do it once I’m told it gets easier and easier. It certainly makes you stronger. I have various bits and bobs that have walked, through absent mindedness or intent from places where I’ve worked. But until politics reverts back from being a career to being a hobby our politicians will only ever be power hungry vultures with little in mind but their own gain.

    Cheers

    MTM

    • jwebster2 August 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm Reply

      It was Lincoln who said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
      They’ve had power. We’ve seen their character

  4. keirarts August 25, 2013 at 6:54 am Reply

    One of the biggest plus sides to the internet/social networking revolution, the fact most people have top quality cameras on their phones and everyone is becoming ‘linked in’ is this stuff becomes public VERY quickly. The Wikileaks incident was just the first salvo really, in the future it will be very difficult for governments to keep many secrets. Companies that do a shoddy job will find plenty of disgruntled reviews of their service when they google their company.

    I don’t mind the state ‘meddling’ as such, I just wish they would do it in the right way. The biggest way to stop smoking is to tax the hell out of it. Lecturing people does not work, for me I stopped because of the price. State meddling when it works gave us the minimum wage which was a good thing, If they can intervene in the ‘bonus’ culture that would be good as well. People should be paid by results. That said, the best intervention the government could have done with the banks was to do nothing and let them collapse. Make sure those with savings of £80,000 or less got their money as they are obliged to do and force a clean sweep of upper management. That said, if they had stopped these banks getting so damned big in the first place they could have failed without any worry from us. That is one instant where the state SHOULD have meddled.

  5. jwebster2 August 25, 2013 at 7:51 am Reply

    Certainly I think that we need a Glass–Steagall act here in the UK to stop bankers playing roulette with savings at no risk to themselves. Whether banks were allowed to collapse (with the £80k bit covered) or not I don’t know, although I do tend to agree with you. But either way, there should have been a clean sweep of senior management. They’d failed, screwed up, they should have been out on their ear, no bonus, and if they wanted to claim for unfair dismissal then they could have fought it in the courts.

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