When legislators decide what can be bought and sold….

George Osborne was dragged deeper into the furore over the Murdoch empire\’s links to government as it emerged that he entertained Rebekah Brooks for a weekend at his country residence as Rupert Murdoch was planning to take over BSkyB.

….the first thing to be bought and sold will be legislators.

No, of course I\’m not suggesting brown envelopes stuffed with babki.

What I am suggesting though is that those screaming about how awful it is that a private sector company should try to suck up to those with political power is, well, what the fuck did you expect?

Your permission to run a newspaper business is dependent upon those politicians. Your spectrum allocation is dependent upon those politicians. How much domestic shite you\’ve got to pump out over that spectrum is dependent upon those politicians. Which sporting events you\’re even allowed to bid for is determined by those politicians. Whether you\’re allowed to buy out the other shareholders in a company you already have management control of is determined by those politicians. Can you give TV viewers a free newspaper? Politicians.

When the politicians have this sort of control over an industry then the people in that industry will inevitably suck up to the politicians. And it\’s no good arguing that it just needs my tribe of good politicians in charge and all will be fine for inevitably the Coke party is going to be replaced at some point by the evil bastards of the Pepsi party.

If politicians have these powers then of fucking course those affected by the exercise of those powers will spend their time kissing the hairy arses of those with the powers. If government ran the lettuce industry then we\’d have to lick Osborne\’s ringhole to have iceberg instead of romaine for tea.

Why can\’t people understand that the politicisation of the media industry is because it\’s politicised?

7 comments on “When legislators decide what can be bought and sold….

  1. Let’s get this straight. Nobody is complaining about the politicisation of the media, they’re complaining that somebody of a different political stripe was better at it than they were. At the moment I’m reading lefties calling for politicians to ban Murdoch from ownership of British media, whilst at the same time denouncing the politicisation of the media.

  2. You quite rightly explain why media types want to suck up to politicians who hold the reins of power.

    But that doesn’t explain why Osborne is entertaining the Murdochs at Dorneywood.

  3. It’s called an oligarchy. They naturally form in human societies. So, if you want a society without one, you need to carefully craft a political system that disincentivises them. The Americans had a first go at that, it turned out to be inadequate, but at least they tried. We never even tried.

    British democracy was crafted to maintain oligarchy and to try and ensure that entry to the oligarchy could be restricted to “the right sort of people”. It has achieved that end extremely well. The people who run the country are pretty much precisely the people who the reformers intended to be the people who run the country. Our political elite may be the largest in any culture in history, a sprawling, Byzantine structure concentrated in the “Third Sector”- which was entirely created for this purpose- with tentacles in every pie, including corporate elites. The only concern of oligarchists is to try to exclude people they don’t like from their political cartel, and sometimes they don’t succeed in that, as with the Murdochs. Their anger at Murdoch’s connections is the same anger as at somebody you don’t like who is somehow a member of your ecxlusive gentlemen’s and ladies’ club, who you keep trying to find reasons to get kicked out.

    It may impossible to create a society with no oligarchy. But one can envisage societies in which oligarchy is stronger or weaker; just as every society will contain religion, but not every society is a theocracy. A strong element of random appointments would probably be a good strategy in this regard (as with my proposal for the Lords to be replaced by a House Of Lottery).

    But you have to want to do it. And that is hard when your society is old and the people you need to persuade to do it are themselves the oligarchs. The Americans had a virtually unique opportunity after they threw off colonial rule. Such opportunities are rare.

  4. And of course the lefties’ answer to the problem of over-politicisation is more politicisation. Sheesh.

  5. IanB (#3), that’s why I liked the old hereditary House of Lords. After a few generations it becomes far more random than any elected or appointed parliament.

    What other system would put the Thynnes in Parliament?

    All it needed was a tight limit on new creations and a strict bar on ex-MPs getting in.

  6. isnt it the reverse happening here? politicians toadying up to corporate power? very discomfitting to see our elected representatives do this, it only entrenches monopolies and raises barriers to entry for the new guys.

  7. No, roym, you are making the error of treating the two groups as separate. Corporatism blurs the distinction so much as to erase it.

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