Why do we have to reform our lobbying system?
The UK’s lobbying system is arguably the greatest reason for Westminster’s politics demonstrating near total disregard for the public interest. Westminster knows full well that it is currently propping up one of the most disgracefully opaque and democratically corrosive lobbying systems in the developed world, yet refuses to act. The most recent drive by Westminster to clean up lobbying was deliberately impotent, and amounted to little more than a public propaganda exercise, due to willfully defining lobbying as narrowly as possible to prevent most lobbying activities from ever having to be declared.
Lobbying must be defined in far wider terms, and our lobbying system must be made fully transparent to the public.
Detailed reform principles
A – All lobbying regulation and enforcement must be assumed by the H.O.C.D.E.
B – Constituents meeting with parliamentarians at regular constituency surgeries to discuss personal matters, not associated with not for profit or profit making individuals, groups or organisations, should not be defined as lobbying.
C – Any activity with the exclusion of point B that seeks to influence government policy will be considered lobbying.
D – All lobbying activities must be recorded in a publicly available, online register of lobbying activities.
E – All lobbying activities by or on behalf of any individual, group or organisation must be conducted in an open public forum only.
F – It will become illegal for parliamentarians, who have left office, to work for any party listed, in the previous 25 years, in the lobbying register or receive any offering of any kind from the same.
G – Any breach of lobbying regulations shall be a criminal matter carrying a custodial sentence.
Lobbying can form a healthy and valuable part of a functional democracy but only when implemented carefully, transparently and with total honesty. The UK lobbying system is almost as far from this ideal as it is possible to be and is a democratic insult to each and every one of us. It must now be reformed in a manner that renders it as close to corruption free as can be practicably achieved.
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