Did somebody just try to buy the British government?

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Did somebody just try to buy the British government?

So when an eminent member of the House of Lords stands up six hours into a debate and blows the gaff on a shadowy foreign Foundation making a bid to buy the British state, and this is recorded in Hansard, one tends to sit up and take notice. And one takes even more notice when His Lordship tip-toes around actually naming the Foundation in question, especially after the throw-away about money-laundering for the IRA on behalf of the Bank of England. Parliamentary privilege only stretches so far, it seems, and Foundation X is beyond its reach.
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13 Responses:

  1. ciphergoth says:

    The consensus on Twitter seems to be that it's probably the work of these scamsters:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_International_Treasury_Control

    • Looking at their website, they seem to be headquartered somewhere near a small town in northern Thailand. Not exactly the kind of place that you'd expect an important UN body. Even as evil mastermind lairs go, it seems pretty innocuous.

      • strspn says:

        At least someone has the fortitude to step up to be the sole arbiter of the centralized wealth of the world.

    • Yeah, that's possible; but the peer in question isn't exactly the kind of guy you'd usually approach with a scam.. You could make a movie about some of the stuff he's done without exaggerating and it would be a pretty decent flick.

      • zotz says:

        On the other hand, they may have had vague dealings with him before (they put in a very strange bid for MG Rover at a point when he was involved in a different bid) and might have got the idea then that he was getting a bit dotty with age.

        • To be honest, if you take a look at some of the other things he's said and done, that could be a fair assessment. Still, I wouldn't like to bet either way.

  2. lovingboth says:

    It wouldn't take five billion to buy the government. If you couldn't do it for under ten million, I would be amazed.

    • autopope says:

      Given that there's only one member of the cabinet (some forty-odd seats) who isn't a millionaire, I think you're low-balling it.

      • lovingboth says:

        You don't give to the individuals, you give to the party/parties.

        • That doesn't buy you a government. As people have learned to their dismay in the past.

          Lesson #1 for politicians (even in something noddy like student politics) is how to take the money and then do as you please without feeling guilt.

          This is why blackmail is more effective. If they don't do as you say, you can leak the information and ruin them. It's a poor substitute for getting what you want, but it's something.

          • lovingboth says:

            It's a fine line.

            I know one donor who was strung along for years with all the skill of an advanced fee fraudster: what he wanted was always 'in the process of happening'.. oh, can we have another few tens of thousands of pounds? As soon as he stopped behaving like a cash machine, he was dropped like a stone and never did get what he wanted.

            One of the biggest laughs I have ever had was listening to another donor declare that he never expected a peerage as a result: he was so desperate to get one that he'd given large sums to more than one party and was absolutely clear in private why.

            More skilled donors play the game in reverse, giving a (significant) little and promising much more.. once that law's changed or that investigation dropped.

            • editer says:

              True on the last point. Many storys of U.S. lawmakers and their donors that I've seen involve large campaign contributions after a key bill passed, not before. But they do it both ways.

  3. fnivramd says:

    Without any doubt the best bit is when he's interrupted for taking too long.

    This is Westminster's answer to those moments of C-SPAN2 Jon Stewart occasionally shows. You've seen them. Aides holding up ridiculous charts that would be laughed at even on Fox News, senators holding forth with uninformed and wildly off-topic gibberish, while colleagues snooze or roll their eyes. Crazy old men who probably won't live to see another term, elected based on past glories rather than future prospects. Except in Westminster's upper chamber there will be no election, the peers are there for life.