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British Politicians for Sale—and They Say They’ve Done Nothing Wrong


Another reminder this week that schadenfreude is a pleasure best avoided by the political class:


Two of Britain’s most senior politicians, one Labour, one Conservative, both former foreign secretaries, have been caught in an embarrassing media sting. When the same fate befell three of Jack Straw’s colleagues before the last election, he chided them for their “stupidity in allowing themselves to be suckered in a sting like this.”

Guess what, Mr. Straw? You got suckered by the same old trick. Undercover reporters, posing as intermediaries for a phony Chinese business, tempted Straw, who was foreign secretary during the Iraq War, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind into claiming they would make extensive use their political influence in exchange for great wads of cash.

Nothing either man did was illegal, and their willingness to accept well-paid advisory roles may not even have breached House of Commons guidelines. Nonetheless, hidden camera footage of the former ministers grasping for money reinforces the view that politicians are more interested in looking out for themselves than the voters they are supposed to represent.

“I am kicking myself,” admitted Straw, after news of the footage to be shown on Channel 4’s Dispatches emerged on Sunday night.


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