General Election announced! ...but how will the expenses scandal affect the outcome?

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish
Looking back many would say that the successful New Labour campaign in 1997 was in fact a hugely significant moment in British politics and society.

In 2010 it would seem that we have reached another crucial point in our history, or does it?

The news comes after research showed that fewer people in Britain feel an obligation to vote than at any time since 1991. Experts are forecasting that this year's election could see turnout fall below 59 per cent modern-day record set in 2001. That was the lowest since 1918.

Stuart Wilks-Heeg, executive director of campaign group Democratic Audit, said turnout would be hit by the "cumulative effect" of the expenses scandal and the more recent cash for access scandal, when former Government ministers were caught boasting of how they could influence policy. Both are a tribute to the hard work so many journalists and private investigators put into exposing a national disgrace in the hope of improving the history's most influential democracy.

If you were to compare a government to business, in the great expenses scandal the government and its opposition would be about as honest as an Enron quarterly profit and loss statement using "mark to market" accounting. The expenses scandal demonstrates that even in government, the very highest echelons of democracy, internal fraud is one of their biggest threats and weaknesses and neither politics nor businesses are immune from this risk.

We believe that democracy stands for fairness and freedom of choice. We believe no population should fear its government, governments should fear the population. Politicians are elected to serve the people, by the people, for the people. We trust our politicians to run our country, and to do a good job in the process. The hard thing about trust is that once you have lost it, getting it back is twice as hard.

John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, said the expenses scandal could help to boost votes for strong independent candidates.

This year, 12 per cent of votes are likely to be cast for independent candidates - up from 8 per cent in 2005. The expenses scandal was "one of the pressures to push down turnout".

A report from the British Social Attitudes Survey, published earlier this year, tracked a gradual disengagement with politics over the past two decade - particularly among young people.

It found that just over half of people - 56 per cent - believe that "it's everyone's obligation to vote". This is down from more than two thirds of people - 68 per cent - in 1991.

What can business learn from the expenses scandal?

There many things business can learn from the expenses scandal and at the top of the list would probably be the fact the most likely source of business fraud is internal. Having the right procedures set in place to prevent this type of activity occurring is an ongoing cycle of improvement because unfortunately there will always be someone who is willing to take advantage of others and bend or break the rules to benefit themselves.

Conflict International provides professional private investigators and private detectives in London and around the UK. We also specialize in undercover surveillance and corporate investigations. To find out more please visit our website and get in touch.

Report this article

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article