Why should we care about political lobbying? Isn't business all about making connections? What's the problem?

You hear phrases like "systemic" and "endemic" - but what does that actually amount to?

Unfortunately it amounts to a vast global problem that creates the illusion of democratic process, but with out much actual democracy. Instead, all kinds of effects which are clearly and obviously problematic are ignored and suppressed - climate change, wealth inequality and much more.

In this special episode we start out with a look at the hypocrisy at the heart of the preferential lobbying machine, and in particular we explore not only how it became visible to Ed during his time working with central government, but also how, as he and Ray Ison applied systems thinking to governance, all roads seemed to lead one way: preferential lobbying is the central problem in our many and various challenges, and it can only be adequately mitigated, and even eliminated, by means of constitutional change.

Talking points:

The true intent of the 2014 lobbying bill, and the way David Cameron expressed it

Strategic lying

Lobbying in the time of Blair

Civil servants and ministers are not equipped to understand

Ed's report on the civil service got squashed

The problem with reform

"Superficial civil servants and daft academics"

Private meetings and address books

Legitimate lobbying and grey areas

The capability to employ professional lobbyists

Secrecy is a central part of the problem

Broadband as a case in point

Preferential lobbying has emerged as a central theme

...as a common root cause

Post master controversy as a case study

Appearance and reality in democracy

pros and cons of industry experts


Visionary leadership vs. the reality of financial markets

Preferential lobbying is a zero sum game: it's wealth extraction

A capitalist ideal vs. rent seeking

Ethics and pragmatism


Big pharma stamps out Teatree oil

Multiply that hundreds and thousands of times

viable systems method - how these conditions were identified

Problem - Analysis - Policy - Approval - Implementation - Solution

But policy making is fundamentally experimental

The need to build in redundancies

9 conditions necessary for preferential lobbying

Changing the constitution is the necessary condition of stopping preferential lobbying

Good lobbying is about making your case in pubic

The Finance Curse


Polly Toynbee on the 2014 Lobbying act:


A corporate entertainment story - Biathlon (NY Times - article)


Strategic lying (The Conversation - article)


Chart of the Ascent of Everest (diagram/ infographic)


Book recommendation:

The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer - Nicholas Shaxson - Vintage

The 9 key conditions that facilitate preferential lobbying:

1. Preferential access to decision makers

2. Government decisions made in private

3. Low subject knowledge of ministers and officials

4. Few restrictions on political party funding

5. Availability of patronage

6. An effective choice of two parties for government

7. A politicised judiciary

8. No direct or participative democracy

9. Weak checks and balances on government decisions, especially the lack of independent feedback

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