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Book Review: China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption by Yuen Yuen Ang

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/05/2021 - 9:18pm in

In China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption, Yuen Yuen Ang examines China’s growth trajectory through the prism of corruption, challenging the notion of Chinese exceptionalism when it comes to corruption by comparing its rise to the growth of the US in the nineteenth century. This sophisticated and nuanced analysis will encourage readers to look beyond the usual cliches surrounding corruption and offers a comprehensive framework for studying the political economy of inequality and development, writes Diego Castañeda Garza.

This book review has been translated into Spanish by Diego Castañeda Garza. Please scroll down to read this translation or click hereIf you would like to read other LSE RB reviews in Spanish, as well as in Mandarin and German, please visit the LSE Reviews in Translation page, a collaboration between LSE Language Centre and LSE Review of Books

China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption. Yuen Yuen Ang. Cambridge University Press. 2020.

In the second century of the common era, Plutarch, the famous Greek philosopher and historian, published his best-known work, Parallel Lives, a work of 23 pairs of biographies of famous Greek and Roman statesmen. Plutarch’s purpose was an ethical one, to demonstrate the Greeks’ past achievements in light of the Romans of the near past and showcase common lessons. Similarly, Yuen Yuen Ang’s book, China’s Gilded Age, offers a parallel life of states. It rebels against China’s exceptionalism narrative (and, I would argue, against all such exceptionalisms) in contrasting contemporary China with the nineteenth-century United States. The Gilded Age of the US in the nineteenth century, the age of the robber barons where corruption fuelled economic growth and inequality, is set against former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s post-1978 economic liberalisation in which corruption played a similar role.

Corruption has been long identified as a widespread problem in both the developed and developing worlds. It is often associated with poverty traps (Ray Fisman and Miriam A. Golden, 2017). Corruption tends to be related to institutional weakness, with misallocation of resources that inhibit economic growth, and positioned as a scourge to investment. However, as with all generalisations, this picture is not true. The case of post-1978 China or the nineteenth-century US presents us with a strange paradox: fast industrialisation and rapid economic growth in the face of rampant and socially noxious corruption. Suppose what we hear from politicians worldwide (especially in developing countries) is accurate, and corruption is often the source of all evils. How can we reconcile such ‘common knowledge’ with the growth trajectories of the US and China?

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Author Ang devotes Chapter Two and the appendix of her book to giving us the tools to solve the paradox. She develops an innovative methodology for the study of corruption that provides nuance that the simple and traditionally amalgamated indexes of corruption cannot capture. Such composite indexes tend to suffer due to data quality, lack of understanding of the sources, biases from institutions with a dominant western understanding of the problems and a lack of understanding of local historical developments and general context (25-27). To address this issue, Ang surveyed fifteen countries (including low-, middle- and high-income nations). She introduces four typologies of corruption and measures the countries employing them.

The four typologies are a handy way to conceptualise corruption: namely, as petty theft; grand theft; speed money; and access money. Each type of corruption has different effects on economic performance. Table 1.1 in Chapter One on page 12 illustrates the usefulness of the typology with an analogy: corruption is like a drug, but different drugs have different effects on the body. The same goes for economic performance. Petty theft and grand theft, which are more common in patrimonial states, are like toxic drugs that poison the economic body and especially hurt the poor. Speed money – for example, bribes to low- and mid-level bureaucrats in exchange for a permit – is like a painkiller: it eases a problem but damages the body. Finally, access money is a very different kind of drug. It is like a steroid or a performance enhancement drug in sport. It facilitates growth, for example, by allowing large corporations to win public contracts, deregulate a market, etc. Access money is access to the decision-makers, and these, in turn, grant access to more business opportunities. This type of corruption enhances economic growth by increasing investment but taxes the social body with rising inequality.

The Unbundled Corruption Score calculated with the survey results solves the paradox. The US and China, together with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, share a trait: their dominant type of corruption is access money. The US case has institutionalised access money, lobbying and revolving doors (the conflict of interest arising from people going out from government and regulatory institutions to businesses and out from businesses back to government). For China, it is more dependent on personal relationships with the top bureaucracy. However, the effects are the same – access to business opportunities – and the side effect in both cases is rising inequality. China managed to grow so fast because it could rein in the other three types of corruption. It enacted a series of reforms, for example, eliminating cash payments, consolidating accounts, strengthening budget and accounting standards and managing the fourth type through profit-sharing.

Corruption in China’s case is handled through a profit-sharing arrangement. This arrangement has turned the Chinese bureaucracy into what Mancur Olson (2000) called ‘stationary bandits’ rather than the more harmful ‘roving bandits’. Because of this handling of corruption, bureaucracy is invested in development. China has a stake in attracting investment; by not scaring off business opportunities, it profits from economic growth.

Following this logic, Ang compares China’s developments over the last 40 years in Chapter Three to the account of corruption and development in the United States given by Edward L. Gleaser and Claudia Goldin (2006). The nineteenth-century US experienced the same structural transformation that China is experiencing today: rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. The US needed to build capacities fast to keep up with the development of its economy. The Progressive Era policies at the end of the nineteenth century are the state’s reaction to contain the growth of damaging types of corruption.

China’s fast economic growth over the last 40 years is remarkable: it is among the most, if not the most successful story of development in history. Still, inequality is rising. It is now comparable to that of the US, Mexico and other high inequality countries, and that is a source of concern for China’s government. Rising inequality is a source of potential conflict: it threatens stability. That is why, over the last decades, China has been implementing its own ‘Progressive Era’ type of policies. First, with the ones taken under Premier Zhu Rongji at the end of the 1990s and continuing to this day with President Xi Jinping’s large-scale anti-corruption campaigns.

With her book, Ang contributes a more comprehensive framework to study the political economy of inequality and development by introducing a serious study of corruption. Its contribution extends beyond the focus of the book, China. It enlightens us to how corruption impacts development. The book is not a minor contribution: it constitutes a valuable account for developing countries that excessively depend on foreign expertise that lacks context and overemphasises biased measurements.

The book is not a justification for revolving doors or embezzlement as the path to growth. Instead, the book is a call for precision in how we define corruption and how to fight each of its types. The lesson to take is on how to identify the kind of corruption and prevent its side effects. Building more egalitarian and just societies requires us to pay attention to access money, not just the more straightforward theft, either grand or petty. In that sense, the book presents an entire research agenda that could benefit from expanding the author’s survey beyond the identified fifteen countries. On a global scale, this class of study would be an extraordinary contribution to change the understanding of corruption to a more complex one and therefore learn how to better fight it.

China’s Gilded Age presents the most sophisticated analysis of corruption to date. It is nuanced, full of context, with methodological innovations. It challenges us to transcend the usual cliches about corruption and examines the topic thoughtfully. The book draws from history to highlight how nothing is genuinely exceptional about Chinese corruption and its relation to growth. Decision-makers, policy analysts, scholars and students would benefit from reading this book. It gives a clear methodology to understand local situations and face the problem of corruption through new perspectives that can outline a transformative path that leads to development.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. The LSE RB blog may receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through the above Amazon affiliate link. This is entirely independent of the coverage of the book on LSE Review of Books. 

En el libro China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption, Yuen Yuen Ang examina la trayectoria de crecimiento china a través del prisma de la corrupción, retando la noción del excepcionalismo chino cuando se trata de corrupción al comparar su auge con el crecimiento de EUA en el siglo diecinueve. El análisis sofisticado y lleno de matices animara a los lectores a mirar más allá de los clichés usuales que rodean a la corrupción, ofreciendo un marco conceptual para el estudio de la economía política del desarrollo, escribe Diego Castañeda Garza.

China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption. Yuen Yuen Ang. Cambridge University Press. 2020.

En el siglo segundo de la era común, Plutarco, el famoso filósofo e historiador griego, publicó su trabajo más afamado, Las Vidas Paralelas, un trabajo que comprende 23 pares de biografías de famosos estadistas griegos y romanos. El propósito de Plutarco era ético, mostrar los logros de los griegos del pasado a la luz de los romanos del pasado reciente y así mostrar las lecciones comunes de sus historias. De forma similar, Yuen Yuen Ang en su libro, China’s Gilded Age, ofrece una vida paralela de los estados. Se rebela contra la narrativa del excepcionalismo chino (y en mi opinión contra todo tipo de excepcionalismo) al contrastar la China contemporánea con EUA del siglo diecinueve. La edad dorada en el siglo diecinueve de EUA, la era de los barones ladrones cuando la corrupción le daba impulso al crecimiento económico y a la desigualdad, es contrastada con lo que ocurre en China después de 1978, con la liberación económica encabezada por su líder Deng Xiaoping, un periodo donde la corrupción ha tenido un rol semejante.

La corrupción por mucho tiempo se ha identificado como un problema serio tanto para el mundo en desarrollo como para los países desarrollados. Usualmente se le asocia con trampas de pobreza (Ray Fisman y  Miriam A. Golden, 2017). La corrupción tiende a estar relacionada con la debilidad institucional, con la mala asignación de recursos que inhibe el crecimiento económico y se ha posicionado en la mente colectiva de la sociedad como un azote de la inversión. No obstante, como con toda generalización, esta imagen es falsa. El caso de China después de 1978 o el de EUA del siglo diecinueve nos presentan una paradoja: rápida industrialización y rápido crecimiento económico frente a la corrupción rampante y tóxica para la sociedad. Asumamos que lo que escuchamos de los políticos alrededor del mundo (pero en especial entre países en desarrollo) sea cierto, que la corrupción es la fuente de todos los males. Entonces, ¿cómo podríamos reconciliar tal conocimiento de “dominio público” con las trayectorias de crecimiento de EUA y de China?

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

En el Capítulo Dos y en el apéndice del libro, la autora Ang nos dota de las herramientas para resolver esta paradoja. Desarrolla una metodología innovadora para el estudio de la corrupción que provee la complejidad que los tradicionales índices amalgamados y su sobre simplificación no pueden capturar. Los índices compuestos tienden a tener problemas por la calidad de los datos, la falta de comprensión de las fuentes, por tener sesgos inherentes a las instituciones de donde provienen, con un entendimiento occidental de los problemas y una falta de entendimiento de la evolución histórica y el contexto local (pp. 25-27). Para atender estos problemas, Ang realiza una encuesta en quince países (incluyendo naciones de ingresos bajos, medios y altos). Introduce cuatro tipologías de la corrupción y evalúa a los países usándolas.

Las cuatro tipologías son una forma práctica de conceptualizar la corrupción: esto es, robo (petty theft), estafa (grand theft), soborno (speed money) e influyentismo (access money). Cada uno de los cuatro tipos tienen efectos diferentes en el desempeño de la economía. La Tabla 1.1 en Capítulo Uno (p. 12) ilustra la utilidad de la tipología con una analogía: la corrupción es como una droga, pero distintas drogas tienen diferentes efectos en el cuerpo. Lo mismo pasa con el desempeño de la economía. El robo y la estafa, comunes en los estados patrimoniales, son como drogas tóxicas que envenenan el cuerpo económico y en especial lastiman a las personas en situación de pobreza. El soborno – por ejemplo, pagar por acelerar un trámite u obtener un permiso a un burócrata – es como un analgésico: alivia un problema, pero daña el cuerpo. Finalmente, el influyentismo es un tipo de droga muy diferente. Es como un esteroide o una droga para mejorar el rendimiento en un deporte. Facilita el crecimiento, por ejemplo, al permitir que grandes corporaciones ganen contratos públicos, lograr desregular mercados, etc. El influyentismo da acceso a los tomadores de decisiones y estos a su vez, dan acceso a más oportunidades de negocio. Este tipo de corrupción realza el crecimiento económico al incrementar la inversión, pero daña al cuerpo social al hacer crecer la desigualdad.

El marcador desagregado de la corrupción (Unbundled Corruption Score) que se calcula con los resultados de la encuesta resuelve la paradoja. EUA y China, junto con Japón, Corea del Sur, Taiwán, Singapur e Indonesia, comparten un mismo rasgo: su tipo dominante de corrupción es el influyentismo. El caso de EUA es un influyentismo institucionalizado, cabildeo y puertas giratorias (los conflictos de interés que surgen al tener personas moviéndose del gobierno e instituciones reguladoras al mundo de los negocios y de los negocios de vuelta al gobierno). Para China, el influyentismo es más dependiente de relaciones personales con la alta burocracia. Sin embargo, los efectos son los mismos – acceso a oportunidades de negocio – y su efecto secundario en ambos casos es mayor desigualdad. China se las arregló para crecer tan rápido porque pudo controlar los otros tres tipos de corrupción. Paso una serie de reformas, por ejemplo, eliminando pagos en efectivo, consolidando cuentas públicas, fortaleciendo los estándares de presupuestación y contabilidad y administrando el cuarto tipo a través de compartir los beneficios del crecimiento con todos los involucrados.

La corrupción en el caso de China es administrada a través de un arreglo de reparto de beneficios. Este arreglo transformó a la burocracia china en lo que Mancur Olson (2000) llamó “bandidos estacionarios” en lugar de los más dañinos “bandidos errantes”. Debido a este manejo de la corrupción, la burocracia tiene un interés en el desarrollo. China tiene el interés de atraer inversión; al no ahuyentar oportunidades de negocio, se beneficia del crecimiento.

Siguiendo esta lógica es que Ang compara lo que ha ocurrido en China los últimos 40 años, Capítulo Tres, con la descripción de la corrupción y el desarrollo de EUA que presentan Edward L. Gleaser y Claudia Goldin (2006). EUA del siglo diecinueve experimento el mismo tipo de cambio estructural que China experimenta hoy: rápida urbanización e industrialización. EUA necesitaba construir capacidades velozmente para mantener el paso con el desarrollo de su economía. Las políticas de la Era Progresiva al final del siglo diecinueve constituyen la reacción del Estado para contener el crecimiento de los tipos dañinos de corrupción.

El veloz crecimiento económico de China durante los últimos 40 años es excepcional: es una de las historias más exitosas, sino es que la más exitosa de desarrollo en la historia. Sin embargo. La desigualdad está creciendo. La desigualdad es ahora comparable con la de EUA, México y con otros países con alta desigualdad, esto se ha vuelto un motivo de preocupación para el gobierno chino. La creciente desigualdad es una fuente potencial de conflicto: amenaza la estabilidad. Por ello, durante las últimas décadas, China ha estado implementando sus propias políticas del estilo la “Era Progresiva”. Primero, aquellas tomadas por el Premier Zhu Rongji al final de la década de 1990 y que continúan hasta el presente con las grandes campañas anticorrupción del Presidente Xi Jinping.

Con su libro, Ang contribuye un marco conceptual más completo para el estudio de la economía política de la desigualdad y del desarrollo al introducir un estudio serio sobre la corrupción. Su contribución se extiende más allá del tema central del libro, China. Nos ilustra sobre cómo la corrupción impacta en el desarrollo. El libro no es una contribución menor: constituye un registro valioso para los países en desarrollo que de manera excesiva dependen del conocimiento del exterior a pesar de carecer de contexto y sobre enfatizar instrumentos sesgados.

El libro no es una justificación a las puertas giratorias o la malversación como la forma de crecer. En su lugar, el libro es un llamado a tener precisión en cómo definimos la corrupción y cómo luchamos contra cada uno de sus tipos. La moraleja está en cómo identificar el tipo de corrupción y cómo prevenir sus efectos secundarios. Construir sociedades más igualitarias y justas requiere que pongamos atención al influyentismo, no sólo a los más simples robo y estafa. En ese sentido, el libro presenta una agenda de investigación completa que se beneficiaria de expandir la encuesta de la autora más allá de los quince países que identificó. En una escala global, esta clase de estudio sería una extraordinaria contribución para cambiar el entendimiento de la corrupción hacia uno más complejo y por lo tanto que nos enseñe cómo luchar contra la corrupción de mejor forma.

China’s Gilded Age presenta el análisis más sofisticado de la corrupción que se ha realizado a la fecha. Tiene matices, está lleno de contexto, tiene innovaciones metodológicas. Nos reta a trascender los clichés usuales sobre la corrupción y examinar el tópico a conciencia. El libro extrae lecciones de la historia para mostrar que nada es genuinamente excepcional sobre la corrupción en China y su relación con el crecimiento económico. Tomadores de decisiones, analistas de políticas públicas, académicos y estudiantes se beneficiarían de su lectura. Presenta una metodología clara para entender situaciones locales y encarar el problema de la corrupción con nuevas perspectivas que pueden esbozar un camino transformador que lleve al desarrollo.

Diego Castañeda Garza tiene una Maestría en Ciencias en Historia Económica de la Universidad de Lund. Actualmente es el director del clúster de economía, finanzas y desarrollo internacional en Agenda for International Development (A-ID), es profesor de economía y desarrollo sustentable en el ITESM. Sus intereses de investigación incluyen el crecimiento económico de largo plazo, la evolución de la desigualdad y la historia de las transiciones energéticas. Es autor del libro de reciente publicación:  Pandenomics: Una introducción a la historia económica de las grandes pandemias (Malpaís/UNAM).


UK company law and tax enforcement is so bad it’s almost as if the government wanted to encourage tax abuse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/05/2021 - 4:32pm in

The Guardian ran an excellent article yesterday on the likely tax abuse inherent in the outsourced Covid track and trace contracts. As they recounted:

Many workers employed across the £37bn NHS test-and-trace service are being paid through networks of opaque small companies that experts fear could be defrauding the Treasury via a notorious tax scheme.

They added:

Tax experts and unions fear weak controls by outsourcers and government agencies, and a complex chain of companies supplying labour for the service, which was created from scratch a year ago, have raised questions over the transparency of the system and left it wide open to abuse.

The scheme – which involves what are known as mini umbrella companies (MUC), often fronted by directors in the Philippines – allows employers to dodge their national insurance contributions, and is estimated to cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions a year.

Creating such systems of abuse is probably easier in the UK than it is anywhere else in the world because in this country companies can be bought for less than £20 with no proof of identity required; there is no effective monitoring of shadow directors, and HMRC are exceptionally lax when it comes to regulating new companies. A company has to only declare that it has never traded and the chance that HMRC will ever investigate that claim is near enough zero. The claim is simply accepted at face value.

I have, of course, been pointing this out for more than a decade now, and literally nothing has been done to address the issue. Companies House remains as useless as it has ever been, and as Prem Sikka pointed out in the article, there is no effective company regulation in the UK at all.

So, we will lose hundreds of millions if not billions and yet claim there is no resource to create effective company monitoring. It’s almost as if the government wanted to permit tax abuse and to allow its own revenue to be undermined. Who would have imagined it?

Restricting the right to vote has always been the desire of a privileged elite

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/05/2021 - 5:11pm in



As the Guardian notes this morning:

Britons will have to show photo ID to vote in future general elections, ministers are poised to confirm this week, as a means of tackling fraud which critics claim could deter poorer and ethnic minority voters from taking part in democracy.

And so the retreat from democracy continues. Millions have no reason to have photo ID in the UK. And there is no evidence of literally any significant voter fraud in UK elections. But keeping those without photo ID from voting matters more. And so the Tories plan a wholly unnecessary electoral reform when what is really required  is PR - from which they will also be moving away in mayoral elections.

You could not make this up.

But it is happening.

Fascism creeps on its way, as those pursuing these agendas desire. As a privileged elite they have always loathed the idea of a universal mandate. This is another way of restricting it.

Liverpool Elects First Black Female Mayor – And She’s Labour!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/05/2021 - 6:36pm in

Hooray for Liverpool! While everywhere else in England it seems the party is struggling, thanks to Starmer’s inept, divisive leadership, they’ve won a victory in the town of the Beatles, Jimmy Tarbuck, John Bishop and Cilla Black. They’ve elected as their mayor Joanne Anderson, who beat the Independent candidate, Stephen Yip. The Tory candidate, Kate Burgess, lost her deposit. She’s promised to clean up the town’s politics after the previous mayor, Joe Anderson, who very definitely isn’t related to her, was arrested over allegations of corruption. She has promised to make the city’s government more accountable and transparent. She’s also said that she intends to make violence against women and girls and personal priority. She was raised by a ‘feisty’ single mother, and gave her experience of growing up under Thatcher in the 1980s, feeling that she would never amount to much. She has worked as a freelance equality and diversity consultant, including a ten year stint in the Crown Prosecution Service when it was presided over by Starmer. The founder and director of Operation Black Vote, Simon Woolley, described her victory as a ‘truly historic win on so many levels’ pointing to the significance of a Black woman now running a town that used to be a major slave port.

See: Liverpool chooses UK’s first directly elected black female mayor (

It’s great to have some good news amid this torrent of horrible Tory victories.She isn’t one of the three people Starmer’s NEC tried to bar from standing, and there was a report yesterday that she was a Corbynist, although this seems to have since vanished. If this is the case, then it’s certainly a slap in the face for Starmer. It adds further evidence that shows that it isn’t Labour policies that are the problem, nor legacy Corbynism, but Starmer himself.

Cash for Cushions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/04/2021 - 4:24am in



I could not resist sharing this:

Corruption fatigue

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 28/04/2021 - 5:20pm in

I read the papers this morning and flagged not a single article as providing the inspiration for a blog post. As regular readers will note, this is a rare occurrence. Most mornings four or five get flagged, although not all will make the cut.

What is the difference? I put it down to corruption fatigue. Maybe it is just me, but I am beginning to be numbed by story after story of corruption within, and facilitated by, this government.

I should, of course, be wary. Given that these people appear to be masters of their art they will be only too well aware that corruption fatigue plays into their hands in at least two ways.

First, it simply normalises their abuse until we think it no longer an issue. This is both grooming and gaslighting behaviour on their part. We are being conditioned and then told how silly we are to think that there is anything wrong with a politician feathering their nest because it’s commonplace, when it has not been.

Second, the argument is being created that one politician is less corrupt than another, with roles being swapped to suit from day to day, so that in the end no one can be blamed for what they are doing because there are only relative measures of corrupt behaviour left, and there is always an argument that there is someone worse to take note of, so no one need be held to account.

Both arguments are insidious. They are corrupt in themselves.

Meanwhile the journalists who ask ‘does anyone really care about this corruption?’ play the role of willing facilitators, for which reason I condemn their line of questioning.

And the result is, as I note, corruption fatigue.

We have to be wary of this. We need to remind ourselves of some fundamental truths.

Getting things done did not require that politician’s friends got enormous contracts they had no idea how to fulfil.

Prioritising need did not necessitate the dropping of any standards.

Ignoring expertise, experience and ability was not a way to help anyone.

Rules usually exist for good reason, whether on procurement or to prevent the abuse of political funding.

Accountability matters. Its absence invariably spells, and smells of, trouble.

Once unleashed corruption is very hard to control.

Systemic breakdown of values in society end up with massive loss of wellbeing for all as everyone expects a backhander and public service fails.

We have a government indifferent to such risks. It is easy to be fatigued by yet another story of corruption by yet another Tory politician serving in the most corrupt government that this country has seen for centuries. But holding them to account matters.

Please stick with it. Or give up hope.

It is to be hoped Caroline Lucas starts a trend…

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/04/2021 - 7:40am in

Further information on Johnson’s serial lying, previously mentioned here and of course, below: Peter Oborne has rightly suggested that we have a Prime Minister who has built a career out of lying. He completely ignores the Ministerial Code and treats Parliament with everyday contempt. We now know, for as sure as we can be, that... Read more

A ‘vacuum of integrity’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 25/04/2021 - 9:03pm in

These were the words used to ex Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve, on yesterday’s Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme . He also added for good measure that the government itself was a ‘cronyistic cabal’. The lawyer Peter Stefanovic has been tweeting short film clips of the most egregious of Johnson’s lies – indeed his films have... Read more

Now they’re corrupting the news stories in their corruption

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/04/2021 - 4:38pm in


Corruption, Ethics

Government corruption is now normal. Yesterday we learned that the VIP channel for Covid procurement took up so much of officials’ time last year  that those actually capable of delivering PPE, ventilators and other essential supplies that might work could not get a look in.

There can be no doubt people died as a result. How many could not be said. But whilst NHS staff were reduced to wearing bin liners as PPE the profiteering cronies were being favoured, and that must have had a cost.

But is this the big news story of the day? No, that was reserved for the suspicion that Dominic Cummings leaked the tests from Dyson to Boris Johnson on getting tax favours so that he could advance himself still further in the VIP queue for favours.

This annoys me. As I have tweeted this morning:

This is cover. But it’s worse than. That. It actually shows that this government is even able to corrupt the news media’s coverage of its own corruption. And that’s deeply worrying.

‘Yorkshire Bylines’ strikes again..

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/04/2021 - 5:32am in

I feel I just have to highlight this – from the ever interesting and combative – Yorkshire Bylines: A ‘Compendium of Cabinet [Nolan principle] Codebreakers’. This is: [A] compendium [which] is designed as a document of [the current government’s] misconduct. Like the Yorkshire Bylines’ David Davies Downside Dossier, and also the Digby Jones Jobs Index... Read more