The website New Left Project has posted a little tale of John Browne’s adventures before he became a Lord. I considered posting a summary here but decided that the tale of John Browne, Margaret Thatcher and the hot-tub should be read in full to do it justice.
This sort of tale is important because it explains how both governments and corporations do business in the real world, and in particular how far they are from being either accountable, in the case of governments, or actually free market agents, in the case of corporations. We are subject to a lot of what amounts to propaganda that assures us we live in functioning free market democracies, and it is partly due to this that people like John Browne can do business in government. Cutting through this propaganda strikes me as one of the most worthwhile things to be doing at the moment.
After railing against journalists slightly in the last update on Browne I therefore feel I should give Greg Palast a special mention for escaping the churnalism trap. Not that his work is always wanted by the rest of the media. When he showed how easy it was to buy your way into Blair’s government I remember the reaction of much of the rest of the press ranged from knowing scorn (What’s wrong with that?!) to denial (He’s lying!) and very quickly ended in ignoring what he had revealed about Blair and his cronies. So, you should probably buy Palast’s book on BP. Most of the media won’t care.