British government appoints anti-corruption champion

June 17th, 2010

Kenneth Clarke will head the UK's anti-corruption effort. | Photograph by Subterranean Tourist Board

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced the appointment of Kenneth Clarke as the Cabinet member who will champion Britain’s anti-corruption efforts.

The appointment of such a prominent politician comes at a time when Britain’s international reputation remains badly tarnished by issues including the festering BAE Systems scandal, politically embarrassing connections to the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea, London’s prominence as a tax haven, and the malignant role of London’s satellites in encouraging and facilitating corrupt practices.

Britain’s report card reveals systemic deficiencies and calls for urgent political action. All too often, however, Britain plays a blocking role in trying to water down international efforts to tackle corrupt practices. This has included past attempts to water down the European Union’s Savings Tax Directive to exclude trusts and other legal entities used extensively for tax evasion, not to mention warning foreign governments against probing too deeply into deals involving British companies.

Global concerns about corruption have moved on considerably since Mr Clarke last held a ministerial portfolio in the mid-1990s. As a starting point in preparing for his new role, he should read this and this.

Written by John Christensen

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