Saturday, March 14, 2009

Birmingham University Seminar

On Thursday I addressed a group of international students working with Birmingham University on the subject of London government. Every year they run a programme of visits to the UK for hopeful politicians, civil servants and journalists from other countries, to help them understand our brand of democracy.

Most of my time was taken up with questions and they were wide ranging - what did I think of congestion charging? Why were rail fares so high? How were we going to address recent violence in Northern Ireland?

The issue of police and political corruption came up and I gave them a couple of examples of recent scandals we had dealt with. No, one man persisted, What about Real Corruption? The sort where police and politicians colluded to maintain power?

Whilst we should always be on guard against wrongdoers, an encounter like that reminded me that in a lot of places things are a lot worse than in the UK.

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