16th July 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23305924
http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/p/key-facts-of-lords-and-mps-connections.html

My guilty addiction,

How are you this fine day, my darling? I hope you’re out enjoying the sunshine and not stuck in trying to contain the most recent scandal: that your campaign adviser also happens to be a business lobbyist for tobacco giant, Philip Morris. Darling, I know you didn’t know, and that the halting of plans to change cigarette packaging was just an unfortunate coincidence, but I have to tell you, there is a very fortunate silver lining to all of this in that it is taking away the emphasis from the literally hundreds of other conflicts of interest amongst MPs, Lords and Peers when it comes to financial links with private healthcare companies.

A total of 220 parliamentarians have recent or present connections, 75 of them MPs, and of these, 81% are Conservative. In fact, donations from healthcare companies to Tories total £8.3million so far. The recent Health and Social Care bill (now an Act) was voted on by two Lords who stood to make money from it, one of which was a partner at DACBeachcroft, a law firm heavily involved in healthcare, the other was Cumberlege Connections, owned by Baroness Cumberlege, who maintains several companies that run training programmes throughout the NHS. Also, 19 Lords and MPs have financial links to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. But of course, you know all of this, but the point is that these are not conflicts of interest, it’s just serendipity. Privatisation is inevitable. It is the way of the western world. Somebody needs to be making money from it, it may as well be you and your mates.

You are fortunate in that these conflicts of interest would never be brought up by Labour, as it turns out 1 in 6 Labour Peers also enjoy financial links with healthcare, so you’re safe there. Just keep them smoking, keep that life expectancy from climbing too high, keep that pensions bill under control, and make some money in the process. I see nothing wrong with that.

By the way, I’m glad you put a stop to all that plain packaging nonsense. The short-sighted shopkeeper at my local Costcutter can barely find my fags as it is.

Katy Anchant

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