If Labour is to deliver where is it going to turn for advice?

Posted on

The corporate capture of government is becoming ever more complete. Take this from the Guardian this morning, talking about the ability of the Big 6 energy companies to fight Labour's plan to freeze their prices from within government itself because the Department for Energy is dependent upon staff they have seconded to it:

The firms would also use the employees they have already placed on secondments in the heart of government, and their scores of public affairs experts, to reinforce the carefully cultivated impression that they were indispensable to the government's plans to create a low-carbon energy system, sources said.

"The Department of Energy and Climate Change [Decc] is under the strong impression that it cannot do the things it wants to do without the big six — it just simply doesn't believe it is possible," another lobbyist said.

Current government policy, developed by the Conservatives while in opposition, was heavily influenced by two of the big six — EDF and British Gas-owner Centrica — according to industry sources: "EDF and Centrica are now just an offshoot of Decc — they are all so in bed with each other they are indistinguishable."

I am sure that this is true. Just as I know tax policy making is run by secondees from big firms of lawyers and accountants.

But this poses the real question for Miliband's team. Where are they going to turn for advice when they need it? They clearly could not run Decc on this basis. But who will they use?

And nor can they run the Treasury as a branch of PWC et al in future either. Again, where are they going to turn for advice?

If Labour is to deliver that's an issue it has to resolve and I am not aware that right now it has done so. If it is committed to democracy it is something it has to do.