Corruption really is very rare in the UK

The readership of this blog does skew to those who have good experience of the rest of the world so most of us already know this. Britain is a remarkably uncorrupt place:

Less than one per cent of Britons, five people out of the 1,115 surveyed by the commission, reported that they had been asked for a bribe, the “best result in Europe”.

In contrast between six to 29 per cent of people in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece said they had been expected to pay a bribe.

I’ve said it before and entirely happy to point it out again: I’ve paid bribes before now. Hefty ones too. On the basis that at the time that’s just how you did it in foreign.

I’ve also never even thought about paying or asking for a bribe in the UK. I wouldn’t even know how to raise the subject itself. It’s just not one of the things that you think about as a viable tactic.

This doesn’t stop the EU having a go though:

Britain was among countries criticised for failing to clean up and regulate the financing of political parties, a problem that the commission defined as a major factor in corruption.

In non-binding recommendations, the UK was asked to “cap donations to political parties, impose limits on electoral campaign spending and ensure proactive monitoring and prosecution of potential violations”.

So we’re the least, or near the least, corrupt place on the planet so we should bring in the rules that exist in more corrupt places so as to….what, increase the opportunities for corruption?

19 thoughts on “Corruption really is very rare in the UK”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    So we’re the least, or near the least, corrupt place on the planet so we should bring in the rules that exist in more corrupt places so as to….what, increase the opportunities for corruption?

    It is simpler than that. We can’t make the assorted w*ps, [email protected] and other lesser breeds without the law ever feel bad by pointing out how nice Britain is and what amazing good we have done in the world over the past 200 years. It might make a Turk cry if they ever realise their only contribution has been falaka and foced sodomy.

    So if we are blaming the Turks and all their colonial subjects for being, basically, Turks and worse, then we have to say bad things about the functional states as well. Otherwise the Greeks will have hysterics and cry racism or something.

    Exactly why shielding the trash of Europe from the fact that they are the trash of Europe is a sensible idea escapes me.

  2. Most people (usually nationalistic Russians or idiot Nigerians) who I’ve heard point the finger at Britain for being corrupt refer to nepotism rather than bribery. On that issue they may have a point, but I’m not sure whether corruption as it is generally understood includes nepotism. Bribery may be rare in Britain, but sorting out your mates and relatives with juicy contracts and job postings is not.

  3. I note that corruption of EU officials is officially ignored- this for an organisation that hasn’t got its accounts past the auditors for years. It would be nice if they addressed the beam in their own eye before worrying about the motes in others’.
    I further note that their proposals for Britain seem to centre on contributions to political parties, I wonder whether there is some political party they dont like?

  4. “Bribery may be rare in Britain, but sorting out your mates and relatives with juicy contracts and job postings is not.”

    You can say something similar about other countries in the not very corrupt catagory, Singapore especially and New Zealand to some degree at least. Some of that is simply the nature of small countries, but not all. It has a different impact on society than the skimming/bribe/backhand type corruption has.

  5. Pat,

    “I further note that their proposals for Britain seem to centre on contributions to political parties, I wonder whether there is some political party they dont like?”

    You don’t think the definition of corruption could boil down to being any donation to an anti-EU party is always corrupt, any donation to a pro-EU party is always non-corrupt by any chance?

  6. ” so we should bring in the rules that exist in more corrupt places so as to….what”

    … so as to have the same useful effect no doubt as imposing all those annoying “know your customer” anti-money-laundering laws modelled on those Italian ones that were so successful there in eliminating organised crime.

  7. It cannot be true that Britain is the least corrupt country in the EU. The world’s foremost tax expert Richard Murphy has computed the tax avoidance and evasion number in the UK to be £3tn.

  8. What’s the diff between paying $50 to a customs official in Bongoland in order to do business there, and paying, say, £5000 to the FCA (for example) in order to do business here?

    Answer: about £475

  9. The line between poor governance and corruption is blurry. We certainly have some pockets of the former. Carmarthenshire is a prime example – unlawful payments benefiting senior officials.
    http://carmarthenplanning.blogspot.co.uk
    I’m not suggesting things happen on a Mediterranean scale, but we shouldn’t be too smug.

  10. Answer: about £475

    Notes to self that if ever employing Mr Lud in a professional capacity, “check the bill very carefully.”

    I think you meant £4970 (although I wouldn’t have felt the need for the pendantry if you’d posted £4975.)

  11. Difference between UK & foreign. Foreign, bribery’s an equal opportunity enterprise. Anyone can have a shot at either end of the transaction. UK, it’s been subject to regulatory capture..

  12. Where’s Neil Craig?. If you are out there today, write for us (or cut and paste) a short account of corruption in Scotland please. Parliament building, Edinburgh trams, Glasgow monorail–you had a bit part in that one yourself did you not?- Forth Bridge/Tunnel and the ferry/tunnel capers re various Scottish islands.
    No corruption in the UK?

  13. I agree – one of my relatives lives in Italy and recounts the tale of getting planning permission for work on his house. He walked into the local planning officer’s den, closed the door and counted €100 notes onto the guy’s desk until he said “Si”.

    Compare that with an Indian lass who used to work for me who was asked outright for a bribe by the bloke at a Terminal 3 check-in at Heathrow. She went absolutely ballistic and dragged his supervisor over, and I think it may have ended up with him getting the sack

  14. If you are out there today, write for us (or cut and paste) a short account of corruption in Scotland please.

    I’m not Neil but we regularly see small scale corruption in Scotland – planning and licencing are the two common areas. However, most of the examples you quote are to do with political vanity and incompetence rather than actual corruption.

    Both the teeny-weeny-parly and the trams were down, fundamentally, to bad contracting. In the latter case, the Council knowingly and deliberately took on the role of lead contractor so when things went wrong (unexpected gravesites under the route etc) their sub-contractors all stood around and went “Not our problem, mate.”

    Looking at Neil’s comment on the monorail, this seems to be (again) incompetence and a large dollop of “not invented here” syndrome.

  15. It depends on the definition of what corruption is. To me, any unjust/illicit transfer of wealth using power, legally or otherwise is corruption. And with that, you will find plenty of that in this land too.

    The source of corruption is power, smaller government = less power = less corruption.

  16. With respect, the English (so often) have a talent for missing the point. The affront here is not that the EU thinks you’re corrupt like the rest; the affront is that it wants to interfere with your sovereignty and undermine your democracy. Donations to political parties, campaign spending limits, etc. are all profoundly political decisions. The EU has no business dictating to the British electorate in this fashion.

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