The Curmudgeon


Friday, July 22, 2011

Self-Discipline and the Corporate Criminal

Those enemies of enterprise, the parliamentary select committees, are at it again. The international development committee has been bullying the Blairite paragons at BAE over a trifling matter of twenty-nine and a half million pounds which was meant to be used for education in Tanzania. The money is a fine imposed on BAE for the singularly Blairite offence of making concealed payments to a "marketing advisor" in Tanzania for use in incentivising the local Jeremy C Hunts to wave through a deal. Since BAE is a corporate rather than a human criminal, it was "urged", rather than ordered, to pay the money within weeks; and since BAE is a corporate rather than a human criminal, it has been allowed to drag its feet for several months without being pestered unduly. Finally hauled before the committee again, BAE has adopted the New Labour dodge of claiming to have set up an advisory board so that it can administer its own penalty to itself in easy stages without the intervention of anyone who might take a less redemptive view. Unfortunately, it appears that parliamentary committees are full of such uncharitable persons: "You are not setting up a charity trust, or a personal or a private foundation, or some kind of outward branch for great super-duper positive campaigns that BAE will do to win friends in nice places, and gain influence in nice places," said the Labour MP for Glasgow Central; "you are paying a fine, a punishment." The only comfort BAE can derive from this disgraceful persecution is the fact that, thanks to the wonders of market forces, twenty-nine and a half million pounds will buy a good deal less now than it would have bought if paid on time.


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