Steve Hilton describes Brussels as 'a vast, stinking cesspit of corporate corruption'
David Cameron’s former PR guru Steve Hilton has launched a blistering attack on the way the country is run, warning that an ‘insular ruling class’ is threatening democracy in the UK.
In an article for The Sunday Times (£), Hilton warned of the corrupting influence held by lobbyists and big business:
“It is hard to mistake what donors intend when they give money to political parties and campaigns. Or what business people want when they take politicians and civil servants to dinner, the opera, the Brits, Wimbledon.”
Hilton also employed an argument often used by opponents of Cameron’s government, mainly that it is too homogeneous and Eton-sourced. This group of people are interested only in the perpetuation of privilege for their own kind, Hilton warned:
“When the corporate bosses, the MPs, the journalists [….] all go to the same dinner parties and social events, all live near one another, all send their children to the same schools (from which they themselves mainly came), an insular ruling class develops.
“It is a democracy in name only, operating on behalf of a tiny elite no matter the electoral outcome. I know because I was part of it.”
Hilton was careful to add that these are inherited structures and those who are part of them usually have good intentions, but that the system is so rigid that there is no room for the will of the people to have any impact.
The EU also came under attack; Hilton described Brussels as ‘a vast, stinking cesspit of corporate corruption gussied up in the garb of idealistic internationalism.’
The attack will be embarrassing for David Cameron. Hilton was the architect of the Conservative ‘modernisation’ project, and many saw his departure in 2012 as a sign that the Tories were retreating into small-c conservatism, a trend which increased in the face of the perceived UKIP threat.
In their 2012 biography of Cameron, James Hanning and Francis Elliott quoted a friend of Hilton as saying:
“He can’t believe what power has done to them all, including Dave. He thinks Dave has just become focused on power. He’s not the person he thought he was.”
In this latest outburst, Hilton urges us to make politics ‘more grassroots, interactive, accountable’ in order to ‘take back our democracy and make politics more human’. However, many will be cynical; after all this is the man who advised IDS to cut another £25bn from the welfare bill and wanted to scrap maternity leave.
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.