‘One basic fact is missing from media coverage of the latest scandals at Westminster’, according to Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths, ‘namely the systemic link between capitalism and corruption’. He told the party’s Political Committee on Wednesday evening (November 17) that big business has a built-in tendency to corrupt public, parliamentary and political life. Hiring MPs as consultants and directors is just one of the ways in which capitalist monopoly corporations use their wealth and power to influence political decisions, he declared. Mr Griffiths pointed to the dozens of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs whose income from outside business interests exceeds their basic parliamentary salary of £82,000 a year. He cited three recent cases that illustrate the web connecting capitalist corporations, politicians, government and the state. In the first, Owen Paterson had been paid £100,000 a year to lobby public agencies and government ministers on behalf of two companies. After the Commons standards committee recommended Paterson’s suspension for improper conduct, Boris Johnson’s government and most Tory MPs had tried to block it before the MP resigned his seat in disgrace. One of Paterson’s paymaster companies had received two Covid testing contracts worth £480m, neither of them put out to competitive tender despite the first one resulting in massive failures. In the second case, former Attorney General Sir Geoffrey Cox has been receiving £1m a year from business interests, including £700,000 for advising the government of the British Virgin Islands facing corruption charges. The BVI is one of the world’s biggest centres for shielding wealth, registering ‘shell’ companies and laundering money on behalf of big business and the super-rich. ‘Successive British governments have failed to drain that swamp and the others under British jurisdiction’, Mr Griffiths remarked. In the third case, former Conservative prime minister David Cameron received around £7.2m over 30 months in fees and share sales from Greensill Capital, since collapsed after lending money to the US coal industry and the Gupta family empire which includes Liberty Steel. Cameron’s lobbying of top Tory ministers failed to keep the company afloat long enough to repay up to £400m borrowed from the public sector British Business Bank. ‘All efforts to halt the financial corruption of political life have been obstructed, flouted or circumvented because the economic power of the capitalist monopolies has fused with the political power of the state’, the CP general secretary explained, ‘to form the modern system of state-monopoly capitalism’. Britain’s Communists demand that MPs should work full-time for their electors and the general public, while corporate and state funding of political parties should be outlawed and parties compelled to rely on their own members and supporters.