Gordon Gekko once expounded the theory that “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”. This is a philosophy that when it’s applied to the accumulation of money the ex-Prime Minister David Cameron heartily buys into. He isn’t alone. His Chancellor, George Osborne, was not slow to use his position to line his own pockets and many others have done the same. There are rules and principles and all ex cabinet members should refer to the Advisory Committee of Business Appointments before taking up any paid position within 24 months of leaving. But in the privileged world that they inhabit, principles are for other people.
Unfortunately, we now know this applies to some top civil servants too. The Nolan Principles go out the window when money talks. Those abusing their position are relatively few but what bothers me even more is the lack of outrage from their peers. These revelations are met with a shrug of the shoulders or a raised eyebrow. But still it continues.
I sit on the Select Committee for Public Administration and Constitution and we shall be taking evidence to identify who and what has been allowed to happen and expect David Cameron to attend.
I am sure it isn’t just politics where ‘greed is good’ is accepted. Football has been accused of the same, with eye watering salaries being paid to very ordinary players. But look at what happened last week when six top English clubs decided that they wanted to break away to join an elite European football league. The outcry was immediate, and they were accused of turning their backs on their fans, ignoring the grass roots of the game, lacking a team football mentality and only being interested in lining their own pockets. I only wish that we had the same level of outrage and a sustained outcry when politicians behave in the same way or have, we just given up and disengaged, because if we have, that’s exactly what they want. And that’s a good reason why you shouldn’t do it. Being an elected member is a privilege in itself, no elected member should seek to benefit financially from their position and all dealings should be transparent and open to scrutiny.