Lobbying

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Criticism of Parliamentary Lobbying from 1923

I found this snippet attacking political lobbying in America and France in Herman Finer’s Representative Government and a Parliament of Industry. A Study of the German Federal Economic Council (Westminster, Fabian Society and George Allen and Unwin Ltd 1923).

Nor is the process of “lobbying,” i.e. directly soliciting the support of members of legislature for or against a measure, known only in the U.S. Congress or in the French Chamber of Deputies. it is the irruption of the interest person into the very chamber of council; it should be moderated by other groups with a locus standi and by the community. The process is legitimate; but the proceedings should be systematic, public and open, and subject the possessors of uncorrupt wishes and desires for expression to the humiliation of a suspicious private solicitation.

(pp. 8-9).

This also connects to a footnote, 1, quoting Bryce’s American Commonwealth (1918) p. 691, on ‘The Lobby’. This runs

‘The Lobby’ is the name given in America to persons, not being members of the legislature, who undertake to influence its members, and thereby to secure the passing of bills… The name, therefore, does not necessarily impute any improper motive or conduct though it is commonly used in what Bentham calls a dyslogistic sense… The causes which have produced lobbying are easily explained. Every legislative body has wide powers of affecting the interests and fortunes of private individuals, both for good and for evil… When such bills (public and private) are before a legislature, the promoters and opponents naturally seek to represent their respective views, and to enforce them upon the members with whom the decision rests. So far, there is nothing wrong, for advocacy of this kind is needed in order to bring the facts fairly before the legislature.’ etc. etc. P. 694: “In the United States,’ says an experienced publicist, whose opinion I have inquired, ‘though lobbying is perfectly legitimate in theory, yet the secrecy and want of personal responsibility, the confusion and want of system in the committees, make it rapidly degenerate into a process of intrigue, and fall into the hands of the worst men. It is so disagreeable and humiliating and these soon throw away all scruples. The most dangerous men are ex-members who know how things are to be managed.'” (p. 9, my emphasis.)

The Federal Economic Council was a corporatist body set up by the German government which brought together representatives from German business and the trade unions to help manage the economy and regulate industrial relations and working conditions. It’s interesting that it, and a similar body in Italy, were set up before Mussolini’s Fascists had entered the Italian parliament and set up the corporate state there. Finer was impressed with the council, which he believed was necessary because the conventional parliamentary system was inadequate to deal with the problems of industry and the economy. Winston Churchill also apparently spoke in favour of establishing a similar council in Britain in 1930. I think he believed it was necessary to deal with the massive recession caused by the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

The Tories have extensive connections to lobbying groups, and I remember how the corruption associated with them became so notorious a decade or so ago that Dodgy Dave Cameron decided to introduce a bill regulating them. This was supposed to make the process more open and transparent. Of course it did no such thing. It used a mass of convoluted verbiage to make it more difficult for charities, trade unions and small groups to lobby parliament, and much easier for big business. Which is nothing less than what you’d expect from the Tories.

I made similar arguments in my self-published book, For A Worker’s Chamber, to argue that, as parliament is dominated by millionaire businessmen and the representatives of big business, there needs to be a separate parliamentary chamber which represents only working people, elected by working people, and not management or the owners of industry.

I intend to send a copy off to the Labour party, who have asked their members for suggestions on policy. I strongly they believe they should first start with is representing working people, rather than the middle classes and business, as Tony Blair did and Keir Starmer seems to want. Without that, I think you really do need such a chamber to restore balance and represent working people’s own interests. But I can’t see any of the parties agreeing to it in the present right-wing political climate.

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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 2:02am in

On August 6, Attorney General Letitia James announced that she was launching a lawsuit to disband the National Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading

The post The NRA within the Sights appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Jack Abramoff Does It Again

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 8:17am in

Fourteen years after Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to felony fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials — he’s back pleading guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy and failing to register as a lobbyist.  Continue reading

The post Jack Abramoff Does It Again appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Journalist Jeff Sharlet’s Ominous America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/06/2020 - 1:45am in

Jeff Sharlet has been covering the dynamics of Trump rallies for Vanity Fair. His book, The Family illustrated how an enigmatic conservative Christian group wields strong influence in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of its global ambitions. Continue reading

The post Journalist Jeff Sharlet’s Ominous America appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 3:01am in

Having squandered time and money by kicking the can down the road, we have reflated the greatest asset bubble in human history. So let's look at why the chickens are home to roost....

The post Four Horsemen – Chickens Home To Roost appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Four Horsemen – Chickens Home To Roost

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 3:01am in

Having squandered time and money by kicking the can down the road, we have reflated the greatest asset bubble in human history. So let's look at why the chickens are home to roost....

The post Four Horsemen – Chickens Home To Roost appeared first on Renegade Inc.

David Sirota’s Word of the Week: Looting

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 5:10am in

We don’t call this “looting” because it is being done quietly in nice marbled office buildings in Washington and New York. We don’t call this “looting” because the looters wear designer suits and are very polite as they eagerly steal everything not nailed down to the floor. Continue reading

The post David Sirota’s Word of the Week: Looting appeared first on BillMoyers.com.