Political Promise

Scandal at Tetra Strategy

In Michael Pickles on October 29, 2010 at 6:58 am

Michael Pickles speaks out about the growing number of former expense-wrangling MPs now on the lobbying gravy train.

​Tetra Strategy was established in 2007. According to their about us section Tetra Strategy is a company that, “advise some of the world’s leading companies, entities and individuals on managing their reputations and achieving their Strategic Communications goals.” What that means essentially is that Tetra Strategy is one of those numerous companies under various inventive names buzzing around London seeking to influence the views of elected and maybe unelected representatives and officials on behalf of their clients’ objectives, for a profit. This business is what interferes with the democratic responsibility of representatives to convey the views and demands of their constituents. These companies were the lobbyists that President Obama wanted to sweep out of Washington D.C. during his campaign trail because of their dubious role in political influence in particular and democracy in general. The Prime Minister David Cameron has touched on this concern, but we have yet to see what is to become of it.

​Under the news section at Tetra Strategy they announced a new addition to their team – Ms. Julia Kirkbride. She was formerly the MP for Bromsgrove. To her constituents and her party, the Conservatives, she is remembered as one of the top MPs that claimed the most expenses for personal use and lifestyle along with her husband Andrew MacKay, another MP for Bracknell. According to the Daily Telegraph, the whistleblower that exposed the expenses scandal, the husband and wife claimed a combined sum of 60,000 pounds which they were forced to repay. None of them stood for re-election and were no longer associated with their Party. Instead Kirkbride is now working for Tetra Strategy and MacKay for another similar company called Burson-Marsteller. Those people who were elected to be representatives cashed in on their expenses system with no sense of moral uprightness or right and wrong are now employees of companies that make a business influencing the decision making process of members of Parliament – shocking. Such a scandal is truly newsworthy at Tetra Strategy and beyond.

​This trend of hiring ex-MPs by “communications” company should alarm us as citizens. Of course, not all MPs tarnished the image of Parliament by abusing their positions of power to advance their own materialistic needs and fancies – the infamous duck house for example. For those who did they are now part of this communications industry where people seek profit by influencing members of Parliament on behalf of in the words at Tetra, “world’s leading companies, entities and individuals.” This group may or may not include types such as Saudi princes with a reputation of beating their servants, with one most recently beaten to death. Since the clientele of such companies are kept confidential, we will never know who they are working for and most importantly will their clients interfere with our democracy and national sovereignty. If Tetra can employ the likes of Kirkbride, what exactly is their ethical or moral code of sourcing clients?

​There are many great and decent MPs. What should concern us is how these MPs will see their work frustrated by the infiltration and intrusion by various communications companies where their employee payroll include disgraced MPs that abused Parliamentary privileges. As what Donald said on the news of Kirkbride’s arrival at Tetra, “I see you’ve employed that thief Julie Kirkbride obviously to help your client rob from the taxpayer. Don’t think people forget that easily.” It is important that people do not forget. We must be aware that there are some former disgraced MPs, people with knowledge of the ins and outs of Parliament, which are now in the employment of “communications” companies that seek to steer the decisions of lawmakers to the interests of private entities – not the people.

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  1. This concern of the corruption of politics and the involvement of commercial and inividual interests is a topic of much discussion these days, and not only in the UK. We’re seeing in here in the US – perhaps the country with the longest and most infamous history of political back-room dealings in the modern century – as well as China and, more recently, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the supposedly stable Iraq. It is a keen issue aout which more awareness should be germinated.

    It’s not entirely new, however. An wonderful article in the recent edition of Foreign Affairs Magazine, entitled “The Future of American Power: Dominance and Decline in Perspective” by Joseph S. Nye Jr, discusses the development of a conception among the American populance that the country is in decline. It also touches upon the very senstive issue of whether or not the American political ideology and system is so corrupt and inefficient as to be void of any political validity. The author goes on to prove that this situation is a historical one, and that the contemporary concepton of corrupt politics can be based upon a lack of historical political awareness and a heightened media awareness of politician’s faults

    I would certainly agree that the actions of both this MP and Tretra Strategy are reprehensible, and would hope attention given to this matter would deter future companies from similar pursuits. It is more likely, however, that these types of political dealings will continue regardless of moral outrage. It is just too profitable, and clearly, those involved are not concerned with the ethical complications of providing such a product to consumers.

    Overall, a well-written consideration of the developing complications for political dealings in the UK and other government systems around the world.

  2. I wonder if this would be just cause to keep the House of Lords unelected and therefore not requiring the service of such political “consultants.” I use this scandal as one of many justifications to keep our House of Lords unelected (including the hereditary peers; Dukes, earls etc.) and maintain the monarchy.

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