Sunday, September 25, 2011

a restraining influence on the rate of retrogression

So, I had a drink with the most popular man in England on Thursday. Something which came up in the conversation was that apparently, some UK and European central institutions' press offices are handing out "tokens" to lobbyists. Tokens? This meant nothing to me, but apparently what was meant is that they are counting meetings with lobbyists and monitoring the counts to see if they appear to be giving one company or other preferential access. And the reason is that lobbying information is being analysed by journalists and other malcontents with their stinkin' computer diaries.

Of course, they can always go and meet secretly at White's or the meeting room of some dreadful wanktank, but they could do that before and they seem to find official lobbying worth their while or else they wouldn't do it. I suspect that corporate lobbyists are the sort of people whose behaviour is accurately modelled by the toolkit of neoliberal economics, like psychopaths and economists themselves.

In tangentially related news, did you know that there was a serious proposal to rebuild the Houses of Parliament as a Benthamite panopticon in the 1840s? MP Joseph Hume thought Millbank Prison had been such a success that a parliamentary panopticon might be a good idea, or at least he did a piece for Bentham's Westminster Review arguing for it. Whether he was in earnest or taking the piss I have no idea.

I suppose you could have a single citizen, chosen by lot, at the top of the tower...

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