Friends and readers.
Pilton Sucks has been highlighting the corrupt practices within Edinburgh shity Council, and it seems we are getting wide spread support, with a number of people writing to us outlining their experiences, including some employees of the Council who are sick and fed up with the corruption among some senior officials. We thought we would delve further into this corruption within local Government of which Edinburgh Council is amongst the worse.
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
There are several types of political corruption that occur in local government. Some are more common than others, and some are more prevalent to local governments than to larger segments of government. Local governments may be more susceptible to corruption because interactions between private individuals and officials happen at greater levels of intimacy and with more frequency at more decentralized levels. Forms of corruption pertaining to money like bribery, extortion, embezzlement, and graft are found in local government systems. Other forms of political corruption are nepotism and patronage systems. One example was how former Chief executive of Edinburgh City Council Sue three jobs Bruce was allowed to have outside interests which clearly were in direct conflict to her duties as an employee of the City.
Bribery is the offering of something which is most often money but can also be goods or services in order to gain an unfair advantage. Common advantages can be to sway a person’s opinion, action, or decision, reduce amount of fees collected, speed up a government grant or change outcomes of legal processes.
Extortion is threatening or inflicting harm to a person, their reputation, or their property in order to unjustly obtain money, actions, services, or other goods from that person. Blackmail is a form of extortion.
Embezzlement is the illegal taking or appropriation of money or property that has been entrusted to a person but is actually owned by another. In political terms this is called graft which is when a political office holder unlawfully uses public funds for personal purposes.
Nepotism is the practice or inclination to favor a group or person who is a relative when giving promotions, jobs, raises, and other benefits to employees. This is often based on the concept of familism which is believing that a person must always respect and favor family in all situations including those pertaining to politics and business. This leads some political officials to give privileges and positions of authority to relatives based on relationships and regardless of their actual abilities.
Patronage systems consist of the granting favors, contracts, or appointments to positions by a local public office holder or candidate for a political office in return for political support. Many times patronage is used to gain support and votes in elections or in passing legislation. Patronage systems disregard the formal rules of a local government and use personal instead of formalized channels to gain an advantage.The inherent corruption risks in local government relate to procedures for awarding public contracts and overseeing their implementation, as well as to new risks arising from the growing tendency to outsource service provision and the transfer of personnel between public and private roles that this entails. Planning decisions remain highly discretionary and are vulnerable to corruption in several areas. Councillors and officers have opportunities to collude in social housing fraud, and the new system of individual electoral registration will bring new opportunities for corruption.
So it is clear just from that short overview that corrupt practices can easily be covered up and somehow justified as the norm. The building services scandal that happened over a long period of time within Edinburgh City Council resulted in a few convictions but nobody seriously believes there were not more people involved, it’s just been swept under the carpet to cover for inept political management. Some of these senior officials within the Council earn huge salaries which cannot be justified as the City tumbles further into debt. They certainly would not be earning such salaries in the real world but Edinburgh as other councils are a dripping roast for these people. Politicians must do their job, those that understand their job and manage properly and not allow officials to have a free hand. But unfortunately some of our elected members are lazy only interested in building up their own CV and maximizing their allowances. This suits officials who work behind the scenes to enrich themselves at the taxpayers expense. Do we need so many officials, or consultants to run and manage the City, of course not but it has become an express train which no-one wants or is able to stop.
We the citizens are merely onlookers as our City stumbles further into the red, and it’s easy to blame outside forces, it’s harder to do the right thing and stop this gravy train.