Connecting The Dots: Corporate Influence On Government

Mick Meaney
RINF Alternative News


This report is just the tip of the iceberg that demonstrates how relationships between big business and politicians influence government decision making. 

One of the UK’s largest companies, co-founded by a Tory donor, has won government approval that will give the company influence in every high school in Britain.

Education secretary Michael Gove approved a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme created by Carphone Warehouse, the world’s largest independent mobile communications retailer, to place the company’s tablet computers in all UK high schools.

Last year Gove had a secret meeting with Carphone chief executive, Andrew Harrison, to discuss a national roll out of the scheme in UK schools by the end of 2013. Gove had also provided the company with help from his own government officials, a freedom of information act request has revealed.

Speaking to RINF Alternative News, an outraged school teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:

“Education in this country isn’t for the benefit of the children, it’s for the benefit of government and corporations.”

She appears to be right. The British government has always had a culture of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, as this deal demonstrates.

Carphone Warehouse was founded by two men, David Ross and Charles Dunstone.

David Ross is a millionaire Tory donor with strong ties to the party. He has donated over £117,000 since 2001 and is a close personal friend of Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Senior Tories had seriously considered nominating Ross as their candidate for Tory Mayor of London, however, he was made an adviser to the Mayor of London after Boris Johnson was elected in 2008, but stood down in 2009 after failing to disclose that he had used £130-million of his Carphone Warehouse shares as security against personal loans. The scandal also resulted in his resignation from the company.

However, Ross soon returned to politics. In December 2012 he was appointed as an adviser to Boris Johnson, this time on the London Legacy Development Corporation board.

His influence in politics is not to be underestimated.

The other co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, Charles Dunstone, the son of a BP executive, also has some interesting ties.

As a member of the ‘Chipping Norton set’, a close group of powerful politicians and media elite who reside in and around the Oxfordshire town of Chipping Norton, he has some very high profile friends including; David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks,  former CEO of News International, and Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert Murdoch.

Which is interesting considering Dunstone’s involvement with the media and finance.

He is the non-executive director of a number of companies including DMGT, one of the largest media companies in Europe which owns the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and Metro. The company also owns a 20% stake in news broadcaster, ITN.

Dunstone is the non-executive director of HBOS , a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lloyds Banking Group.

And is also the non-executive director of IMD, a distributor of advertising and programming, which boasts ITV and BSkyB as clients.

While often referred to as a Labour supporter, in 2009 the Telegraph reported that Dunstone would be eagerly welcomed into government, if he desired a business-related job in the Cameron administration.

When we connect the dots like this, it appears that what we’ve got here is another case of a large corporation using its political connections which span to the very top of government, to profiteer and sway decisions in their favour.

The British government has always allowed corporations to call the shots, this is merely just one example of corporate influence in government, out of hundreds.  Indeed, this week a report revealed that one third of ministers, including David Cameron, have links to finance and energy companies.

It’s clear that decisions are made not based on what is good for the people, but for what is best for the corporations that politicians have a vested interest in.

This is the reality of our corrupt politician system; a case of who you know, not what you know.