T. Dan Smith and John Poulson Are A Warning, Not a Guide

Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, has been arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation and conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with a long-running police investigation into fraud in the city.

Mr Anderson, 62, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending the outcome of the police inquiries.

In a statement, Merseyside Police said five men had been arrested on Friday as part of an investigation into building and development contracts in Liverpool. Multiple sources have confirmed that Mr Anderson, who has been Mayor for a decade, was one of them.

This being one of the arguments against that power in municipal government. Any concentration of such power to make money attracts those who wish to make money.

19 thoughts on “T. Dan Smith and John Poulson Are A Warning, Not a Guide”

  1. Every 72 year old in Liverpool is likely corrupt so that doesn’t really narrow it down. They’ll be the one’s a generation down from original Irish “travellers”.

  2. I sometimes wonder if the problem with local governance is that the number of elected councillors is simply too low.

    Not high enough for effective opposition coalitions to form, but just right for stable cabals.

  3. Rotten boroughs is my favourite column in private eye. Shame the rest of the media almost never cover local government corruption; the U.K. is a pretty clean country but this is an exception. It’s mostly the planning and procurement systems of course.

  4. This being one of the arguments against that power in municipal government.

    You’ve occasionally mentioned the benefit (in Sweden?) of being able to meet your local official / politician in the pub. In contrast, you also once considered the possibility that corruption was historically relatively low in Hong Kong because access to the distant government was difficult.

    If corruption’s a cultural thing then Liverpool likely needs to be run from Whitehall. By steamship.

  5. Part of the problem with local gov is many areas are effectively one-party states (Kent County Council for example has been Tory-run since 1973, apart from 4 years of no overall control).

    If the councillors have no fear of electoral defeat they will get lazy, self-serving and corrupt.

  6. A further conclusion of pile o’ money theory is that if there is a pile of money and no hint of corruption and boot-filling around it, it’s because you haven’t looked hard enough.

    I wouldn’t conclude that this or that council is innocent, but that it is a matter of degrees of guilt.

  7. @ rhoda klapp
    That depends on just who gets elected. I can remember Lord Gisborough being elected Chairman of the district council administering Guisborough and the surrounding area – there was no point in trying to bribe him – and those who objected to Rutland being swallowed up into Leicestershire in one of “local government reforms” were slightly mollified and/or amused by the election of the Duke of Rutland as Chairman of Leceistershire County Council. A more repeatable example is that when I was a kid, ICI gave time off with pay to employees who were elected to local councils including Billingham where ICI paid the large majority of the rates bill.
    Anecdata (second-hand, the councillor was a friend/political colleague of my parents) a guy came and knocked on the door of the leader of the Conservative group on Tees-side Borough Council a bit after they had won a surprise election victory; came in and chatted a bit and then made an offer from T. Dan Smith of Newcastle – reportedly he just opened the door and pointed the way out (I suspected that he actually said something like ***** out you ***** but that was censored for my young and delicate ears).
    Where I live the problem is not corruption but incompetence, especially when the local LibDems who are mostly former Conservative politicians who split off after a spat, occasionally gain power as one or two of them have this idea that property development is an easy fail-safe way to make money.

  8. Wouldn’t term limits help. Not just for a particular role, but for all cumulative? No more than 7 (?) years in total. Is should not be a career or a source of wealth.

  9. So, you spend two terms = eight years slogging your guts out to try and take control of the council, only for Term Limits to come along and say FUCK OFF!!!! Why not just abolish elections.

  10. Andy ex-Taiwan:
    “If the councillors have no fear of electoral defeat they will get lazy, self-serving and corrupt”.
    Get?

  11. So, if you centralise you empower embedded civil servants and power-mad PPE grads, but if you decentralise you empower fat grafters. It is hard to see a solution that does not involved piano wire, and that only provides short term relief.

  12. The bullet-headed turd was the main Tiers of a Clown players in shafting Liverpool. You think someone as corrupt as Blojob Johnson could have helped a fellow corrupt polipig who just did him a massive favour.

  13. ” It is hard to see a solution that does not involved piano wire, and that only provides short term relief.”

    How about not having the State do so much in the first place?

    Incidentally I notice the BBC continued its usual practice of not mentioning Labour party involvement in a story in its headlines, and hiding that fact away deep in the article. Whereas it would undoubtedly be ‘Conservative Mayor of XXX arrested’.

  14. In contrast, you also once considered the possibility that corruption was historically relatively low in Hong Kong because access to the distant government was difficult.

    As a 30-year resident of HK,that is not a conclusion I could could agree with. It’s not access to distant government (London in colonial days, Beijing post-97) but access to local administration that is the key.

  15. And honest men who get into local politics will be widely assumed to be bent too.

    Which is probably why so many honest men wouldn’t touch it with the proverbial.

  16. The solution is already there.
    Just copy what already works in Switzerland, power is devolved to cantons, even to parish council level.
    Loads of local referenda including decisions on development.
    It works, copy it, the evil that is centralisatuon includes the centralisation of local power at regional council level.

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