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=== <center>[[George Monbiot]]: [http Lighten the Darkness/ Rebelling Against Extinction]</center> ===<center><span style="color:grey">How dark money is subverting democracy in the UKWhen governments abandon us, we must step up</span></center>
26th May 201719th October 2018
How It is this acceptable? A multimillionaire City asset manager [ has pledged hard to spend up to £700believe today,000 on ousting Labour MPs] who campaigned against Brexitbut the prevailing ethos among the educated elite was once public service. [https://wwwAs the historian Tony Judt documented in Ill Fares the Land, the foremost ambition among graduates in the 1950s and 1960s was, through government or the liberal professions, to serve their country.theguardianTheir approach might have been patrician and often blinkered, but their intentions were mostly public and civic, not private and Jeremy Hosking] will use his money to ensure that there is as little parliamentary opposition to a hard Brexit as possible. Why should multimillionaires be allowed to try to buy political results?
Allowed? That’s too soft Today, the notion of public service seems as quaint as a wordlocal post office. It is enabled by our patheticWe expect those who govern us to grab what they can, antiquated permitting predatory banks and anti-democratic rules on political spending. Hosking claims he wants corporations to secure “the sovereign future fleece the public realm, then collecting their reward in the form of this independent-minded democracy”lucrative directorships. But there is no greater threat to sovereigntyAs the Edelman Corporation’s Trust Barometer survey reveals, independence or democracy trust worldwide has collapsed in all major institutions, and government is less trusted than the power money wields over our politicsany other.
There are three categories As for the economic elite, as the consequences of concern heretheir own greed and self-interest emerge, they seek, like the Roman oligarchs fleeing the collapse of the Western Empire, only to secure their survival against the indignant mob. The first An essay by the visionary author Douglas Rushkoff this summer, documenting his discussion with some of the world’s richest people, reveals that their most pressing concern is transparent political fundingto find a safe refuge from climate breakdown, such as Hosking’seconomic and societal collapse. Then there Should they move to New Zealand or Alaska? How will they pay their security guards once money is opaque fundingworthless? Could they upload their minds onto supercomputers? Survival Condo, that the Electoral Commission company turning former missile silos in Kansas into fortified bunkers, has so far failed to prevent: a shocking example has been [ uncovered by Peter Geoghegan and Adam Ramsay of openDemocracysold every completed unit.]
We already know that Trust, the Edelman Corporation observes, “is now the deciding factor in whether a vast payment was made by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party (DUP) for a [https://wwwsociety can function.opendemocracy” Unfortunately, our mistrust is fully who-paid-for-key-leave-campaign-adverts newspaper advertisement urging have destroyed belief in governments exploit its collapse, railing against a liberal elite (by which they mean people to vote still engaged in public service) while working for Brexitthe real and illiberal elite.] RemarkablyAs the political economist Will Davies points out, this ad was not circulated in Northern Ireland“sovereignty” is used as a code for rejecting the very notion of governing as “a complex, but only in England modern, fact-based set of activities that requires technical expertise and Scotlandpermanent officials.
This might suggest that someone was making use of Northern Ireland’s secrecy regime. Political donations there remain hidden from view. Funders wishing Nowhere is the gulf between public and private interests more obvious than in governments’ response to disguise their identities can use Northern Ireland as a back channel into UK politicsthe climate crisis. After sustained pressureOn Monday, [ the DUP revealed] UK’s energy secretary, Claire Perry, announced that the money came from she has asked her advisers to produce a donation of £425roadmap to a zero carbon economy. On the same day,622fracking commenced at Preston New Road in Lancashire, passed enabled by the permission Perry sneaked through an organisation called parliament on the last day before the Constitutional Research Councilsummer recess.
But She has justified fracking on the original source remains a mystery. Though electoral law in Great Britain states grounds that “a donation of more than £500 cannot be accepted … if it helps the donation is from country affect a source that cannot be identified”, [https://www.opendemocracy“transition to a lower-carbon economy”.But fracked gas has net/uk/peter-geoghegan-adam-ramsay/mysterious-dup-brexit-donation-plot-thickens the DUP claims that] it doesn’t need emissions similar to know who provided this moneyor worse than those released by burning coal. All As we know about are already emerging from the coal era in the Constitutional Research Council UK without its help, this is that it’s run by in reality a man called [https://wwwtransition away from renewables and back into fossil fuels.opendemocracyThe government has promoted the transition by effectively banning onshore wind farms, while overriding local decisions to impose fracking by central, to-saudi-intelligence-service Richard Cook]prevent people from taking back control, who lives in a small house outside Glasgow. He seems unlikely it intends to have been the original sourcegrant blanket planning permission for frackers to operate.
What else do we know about him? [ OpenDemocracy discovered] that in 2013 he helped found a company called Five Star Investments, 75% None of which was owned by Prince Nawwaf al-Saudit makes sense, former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence. Nawwaf’s son is currently until you remember the Saudi ambassador to intimate relationship between the UKfossil fuel industry, the City (where Perry made her fortune) and the Conservative party, oiled by the political donations flowing from both sectors into the party’s coffers. These people are not serving the nation. They are serving each other.
There is currently no known connection between these factsIn Germany, the government that claimed to be undergoing a great green energy transition instead pours public money into the coal industry, and Cook has denied any foreign funding deploys an army of police to evict protesters from an ancient forest to clear it for the CRCa lignite mine. But he On behalf of both polluting power companies and the car industry, it has not yet answered calls from openDemocracy or sabotaged the GuardianEU’s attempt to improve its carbon emissions target. Before she was re-elected, I argued that Angela Merkel was the world’s leading eco-vandal. Though She might also be the Electoral Commission [httpsworld’s most effective spin doctor://wwwshe can mislead, cheat and destroy, and people still call her was asked 11 months ago] to investigateSince then, it she has done nothingall she can to retain her position as the leading planetary delinquent. That she has now slipped to third place shows only that the collapse of the public service ethos has become a global phenomenon.
This story resonates with the [https://wwwOther governments shamelessly flaunt their service to private interests, as they evade censure by owning their deeply troubling revelations A report on fuel efficiency published by Carole Cadwalladr the US government in the Observer]July concedes, unusually, which suggest that the US billionaire Robert Mercer may have played a questionable role in our EU referendumglobal temperatures are likely to rise by 4°C this century. Thanks It then uses this forecast to the Observer, the Electoral Commission argue that there is investigating. But if it discovers any breaches of the rulesno point in producing cleaner cars, because the penalties are feebledisaster will happen anyway. The monumental decision this country has takenElsewhere, which may have been unduly influenced by [https://wwwall talk of climate breakdown within government is the forces Cadwalladr describes], will not be reversedAny agency seeking to avert it is captured and redirected.
The third issue is political funding that operates in In Australia, the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has turned coal burning into a different spheresacred doctrine. It’s I would not illegal, it’s worse than that: there are no effective rules be surprised if the only lump of any kind. This coal he has ever handled is the use one he flourished in the Australian parliament. But he dirties his hands every day on behalf of [ dark money that seeks not to influence elections directly, but to change the broader political landscape]industry. Dark money is funding used, without public knowledge, by front groupsThese men with black hearts and clean fingernails wear their loyalties with pride.
There are various ways If Jair Bolsonaro takes office in which it is spentBrazil, their gleeful annihilation on behalf of private interests will seem mild by comparison. One of them He claims that climate breakdown is “astroturfing”: the creation of fake grassroots movements. Pioneered a fable invented by a “globalist conspiracy”, and seeks to withdraw from the tobacco companiesParis Agreement, this later became a [ the environment/2006/sep/19/ethicalliving.g2 crucial strategy for fossil fuel companies] trying to prevent action on climate changeministry, and [ the-fake-persuaders/ biotech firms] trying to get their [ products on congressional beef caucus (representing the market]. It was a major component murderous and destructive ranching industry) in charge of agriculture, open the [ Tea Party movement] in the United States, whose real members were coordinated by a group called Americans Amazon Basin for Prosperity, founded by the Koch brothersclearance and dismantle almost all environmental and indigenous protections.
Another outlet for dark money is With the organisations that call themselves thinktanksexception of Costa Rica’s, but look no government has the policies required to me like covertly funded lobbyistsprevent more than 2°C of global warming, let alone 1. The less transparent they are5°. Most, like the greater their presence in UK, Germany, the mediaUS and Australia, push us towards the brink on behalf of their friends.So what do we do, when our own representatives have abandoned public service for private service?
The research group [http://www.transparifyOn October 31, I will speak at the launch of Extinction Rebellion in Parliament is a movement devoted to disruptive, non-main/ Transparify ranks these “thinktanks” by their openness about their funding]violent disobedience in protest against ecological collapse. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Adam Smith Institute and Policy Exchange, three heroes jailed for exampletrying to stop fracking, whose outrageous sentences have just been overturned, are rated as “highly opaque”: they refuse likely to reveal any information about who sponsors them. But they are all over the BBC – be the Today programme , Question Time and the rest – and other mediafirst of hundreds. The intention is to turn this national rising into an international one in March.
The industry whose funding we know most about, thanks to a legal settlement that forced open [ its archives], is tobacco. We now know, This preparedness for examplesacrifice, that the IEA has been [ sponsored by tobacco companies since 1963]. It has [ received regular payments] from British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International, which has described the institute as one of the groups that would “establish an echo chamber for [Philip Morris] messages”. Last week the [ IEA published a report] inveighing against the UK’s smoking ban and tobacco packaging law. This was picked up across the media, but with never a word about the institute’s funding. Apart from the BBC’s editorial guidelines, which are [ routinely flouted], there are no rules long history of any kind to prevent or reveal such conflicts of interest. Is this democracy? Is this sovereignty? No. It’s the replacement of informed political choice with an onslaught of corporate propaganda and fake factsreligious revolt suggests, which, as we don’t have 100 years between elections is essential to check motivate and refute, we have little chance of resistingmobilise people to join an existential struggleWhy has there been no effective action on climate change? Why are we choking on air pollution? Why It is the junk food industry able to exploit our children? Because governments and their agencies have rolled over and let among such people make a mockery of informed consent. Now that you find the whole democratic system is sliding, public and the Electoral Commission is neither equipped nor willing to stop itcivic sense now lacking in government. There’s an urgent, unmet need for new laws That we have to take such drastic action to defend democracythe common realm shows how badly we have been abandoned.
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