government inquiries

government inquiries
   Any institution which possesses power and authority can abuse that position. Moreover, when a diverse collection of people constitute such an institution, they are able to abuse their positions in an individual manner. The British government is no exception, and has had its share of scandals and inquiries. These exist primarily on two levels. First, there have been individual abuses, some detrimental to democracy and the public interest, others just interesting headlines for the Sunday newspapers. Second, governmental abuses of power occur where there is evidence of a conspiratorial nature or of a cover-up. Both types represent a challenge to the efficient functioning of democracy within British society.
   The ‘cash for questions’ episode illustrates clearly how individual MPs are able to abuse their positions to the detriment of democracy. Against a background of lingering suspicion, journalists from the Sunday Times somewhat insidiously offered both Conservative and Labour MPs £1,000 to ask specific questions in Parliament. Two of the Conservative MPs were interested enough for the paper to run a story claiming corruption at the highest level. The issue went to an inquiry and both MPs were fined for their actions. In addition, MP Tim Smith resigned over allegations concerning payments from Mohammed Al Fayed, the owner of Harrods. As the allegations continued, the opposition, the media and senior Conservatives put pressure on the government for a general inquiry. The resulting Nolan Inquiry, chaired by Lord Nolan, eventually recommended the establishment of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, a ban on MPs working directly for lobbying companies, and a need for MPs to declare not only outside commitments but also their worth. This latter measure, and the establishment of a Commissioner, were approved by parliament. The second form has recent cases also. Examples include the question of whether there was a ‘shoot to kill’ policy in Northern Ireland; the sinking of the Argentine warship General Belgrano during the Falklands crisis, in which the rules of engagement were changed at the last minute and actions were covered up; and the issue of whether the government made illegal (by breaching or changing guidelines) military sales to Iraq, which was the subject of the Scott inquiry. The wider questions in all these cases are whether there should be more checks upon government and whether it is necessary to create a new regulatory body or extend the powers of those already in existence. The inquiries that have been undertaken have usually been as a result of media attention, not rigorous self-regulation.
   ALASTAIR LINDSLEY

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Inquiries Act 2005 — The Inquiries Act 2005 came into effect in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2005. According to the British government, the Act is designed to provide a framework under which future inquiries, set up by Ministers into events that have caused or have… …   Wikipedia

  • Government involvement in the Terri Schiavo case — The legislative, executive, and judicial branches, of both the United States federal government and the State of Florida, were involved in the case of Terri Schiavo. In November 1998 Michael Schiavo, husband of Terri Schiavo, first sought… …   Wikipedia

  • Government Accountability Project — The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is the United States leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating of whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public… …   Wikipedia

  • Local Government (Boundaries) Act 1887 — The Local Government (Boundaries) Act 1887 (50 51 Vict. c.61) was an act of the United Kingdom Parliament. The Act established boundary commissioners to reform the areas of administrative bodies in England and Wales in preparation for the… …   Wikipedia

  • Local Government Board for Scotland — The Local Government Board for Scotland was the body charged with overseeing local government, public health and poor law in Scotland from 1894 to 1919.EstablishmentThe Board was established by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1894. The new… …   Wikipedia

  • Parliamentary inquiries by the Belgian Federal Parliament — Both Chambers of the Federal Parliament, the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, has the right to conduct parliamentary inquiries pursuant to article 56 of the Belgian Constitution, which provides that Each Chamber has the right of inquiry …   Wikipedia

  • Project On Government Oversight — Infobox Website name = [http://www.pogo.org/ Pogo.org] url = http://www.pogo.org type = Nonprofit Government Watchdog author = Dina Rasor owner = 501(c)(3) Non Profit OrganizationThe Project On Government Oversight (POGO), founded in 1981 by Dina …   Wikipedia

  • World government — United States of Earth redirects here. For the government in the television show Futurama, see Politics in Futurama. World empire and World State redirect here. For the computer game, see World Empire. For the World State in Brave New World, see… …   Wikipedia

  • Federal government of the United States — The federal government of the United States is the central United States governmental body, established by the United States Constitution. The federal government has three branches: the legislative, executive, and judiciary. Through a system of… …   Wikipedia

  • Criticism of the Israeli government — State of Israel …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”