When I’ve talked before about corruption and the international arms trade – with the allegations around the Al Yamamah deal with Saudi Arabia particularly in mind – it’s not been uncommon to get feedback about these sorts of crimes being – well – ok really, because everyone is at it, aren’t they?
Well – that’s not my view! So I’ve done a piece, published earlier today on Liberal Democrat Voice which addresses the issue head on:
Imagine you’ve been burgled and (by a small miracle!) someone is up in court, charged with the burglary. How impressed would you be if the accused said, “OK, I did do it – but you have to understand. I’m a poor student at the local university and all the French and US students there steal things too, so it wouldn’t be fair if I was left out and had to make do without the proceeds of crime too?” Not very I think! But that’s pretty much the excuse so often rolled out to brush away corruption around international arms deals – everyone else gives out bribes you know, and it would be so unfair and unforgivable if we didn’t too.
You can read the rest of my case over on Liberal Democrat Voice.