Sunday, 4 March 2012

One question begats yet more questions

An article has appeared in today's Sunday Telegraph reporting that nine members of Ed Miliband’s opposition team have received free help from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the accountancy giant that helps its clients avoid millions of pounds worth of tax a year. The article, authored by Robert Watts Deputy Political Editor, lists those involved, amongst whom is Ed Balls whose disclosure in the latest Register for Members’ Interests shows that he has accepted "the services of a research assistant/analyst to support him in his opposition front bench role" for a four-day-a-week second between January and April of this year and that the arrangement is valued at £59,976, based on the PwC worker’s salary.

The article does not specifically state that this free help is for personal gain, neither does it state that it is to assist politicians with their parliamentary business. The criticism by John Mann, Labour, that it appeared that there was now a PwC “caucus” within parliament seems valid - especially when noting those ex-PwC employees now occupying senior positions in politics and advisory bodies.

If we take Ed Balls as an example - and the question can be put to every politician who has accepted these free services - what exactly are the duties of these research assistants/analysts and what support is provided. While their services may be free what, if any, other payments are made? Who pays their travel costs if said research assistants/analysts are required to accompany their political masters on visits/meetings outside Westminster? We all remember, during the Expenses Scandal, of reports of politicians claiming tax advice on their expenses. Unless the duties of these research assistants/analysts are made public the doubt will remain that politicians are up to their old tricks.

That our politics has the stench of corruption attached to it is well known and this story can only add to that stench. Transparency was trumpeted by Cameron and Clegg in their programme for government - sadly, as has been shown, this has been but another false promise. I note, incidentally, that Channel 4 intend to air a remake of 'A Very British Coup' with the twist that the series will pose the question what if the public voted in a prime minister who was committed to always telling the truth and sticking to his pledges. So, yet another fiction series for the masses to watch! Needless to say had we direct democracy and referism the series would not be fiction, but faction!


Captain Ranty said...

George Osbourne is a decent enough bloke but in the wrong party.

TomTom said...

George Osborne is a non-entity. He knows no Economics and is simply an understudy for Gordon Brown playing politics with serious issues to flatter a History degree

WitteringsfromWitney said...

CR & TT: Actually Cap'n, I tend to side with TT on George.

He should also have remained a towel folder!

PeterCharles said...

PriceWaterhouseCooper, eh? Well, they are in competition with GoldmanSachs who seemingly have the inside track on most political parties currently in power, whatever the country. Perhaps PWC have foreseen a Labour victory at the next election and are getting their foot in the door early.

Still, since the Prime Ministers of both Greece and Italy are both GoldmanSachers, they have long way to go.

john in cheshire said...

I know this is off topic and for that apologies, but while I think of it, can I ask a question :
Does anyone else wonder if Mr Cameron is a communist of some sort? I ask because he exhibits some of the characteristics; for example being a signatory to the UAF, a tendency to lie, strongly pro-EU. If he is, it would explain a lot of what he does and says.

PeterCharles said...

I wouldn't mark him as such JiC. He is definitely a Social Democratic Conservative with a wide Patrician Tory streak, no doubt genetic. That said, Social Democracy in all its flavours goes for Big Government, Big State, Big Spending, Big Regulation, Big Welfare and Authoritarianism-lite, so the parallels with communism, communitarianism and such is understandable, they all favour central, authoritarian control.

TomTom said...

, since the Prime Ministers of both Greece and Italy are both GoldmanSachers

So is the Head of the ECB, so is the incoming Chairman of Deutsche Bank,


PeterCharles said...

Yes I know TT, but there isn't enough space available to list the entirety of the GoldmanSachs tentacles into the econo-political and now the political world, so I thought restricting myself to the most visible 'important' posts would convey the point.

Anonymous said...

They don't call goldman sachs the "squid" for nothing.
PWC taking over Labour ?
GS has already taken over the rest of the world.