Dig beneath the profane language and playground rhetoric and there are actually some things the UK can learn from President-elect Trump’s 100 day plan, says Rory Broomfield. 

As I wrote before the US Presidential election, I have concerns about our relationship with the US. Yet, when it comes to the UK’s domestic policy, there are things we can learn from Donald Trump, the new president-elect, and his 100 day plan.

There were many slogans used during the Presidential election by Donald Trump. “Crooked Hillary” seemed to be one of his favourites. Another one was “time to drain the swamp” – and looking at his plan, the introduction of a Clean up Corruption in Washington Act seems like a good start.

The plan looks to “enact new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics”. It comes along a number of other anti-corruption measures that, when sworn in early next year, the new US President is looking to enact.

But he doesn’t stop there. Underneath are a few of his other measures:

  • FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;
  • SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health);
  • THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;
  • FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;
  • FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
  • SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

These sound like a real and powerful attempt to clean up US federal politics and these ideas sound great to me. So much so that I think the UK can benefit from some of this thinking.

Does anyone remember the ‘cab for hire’ Stephen Byers? He was a former Transport Secretary of State under Tony Blair who was caught being seduced by an investigative journalist who duped him into offering his services whilst still an MP. Or Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw, who were both accused of wrongdoing in a “cash for access” scandal. They were both eventually cleared, but some of the MPs that cleared them did express ‘misgivings‘ about doing so.

Indeed, there have been issues other than the revolving door of Westminster politics. This is demonstrated by the latest episode involving Keith Vaz. Of course, MPs are not saints – and we shouldn’t expect them to be. But surely there could have been a more appropriate person to scrutinise the acquisition of unexplained wealth.

Another recurring problem is with appointments to the House of Lords – especially the political kind – which need urgent change. David Cameron’s resignation honours were a joke in many cases, and it degraded the entire system.

All these issues, and more, mean that the Westminster system needs to be revamped and cleaned up. The ability of former MPs who’ve been reelected a number of times being allowed a House of Commons Pass after leaving office is also concerning. In my eyes, they should be scrapped given there is no good reason to give these individuals privileged access to policy-makers over the general public.

The increasing influence of corporates in defining both the policy and the news agenda is also a growing concern. Given the rise of “fake news” and the ability of Deloitte to have its opinions misreported as an official government memo, there are indications that corporate activity has been raised to the level of ‘post-truth corporatism’.

The increasing influence of corporates within our political agenda is worrying. Given the volume of money donated to the Britain Stronger In campaign by multinationals like Goldman Sachs et al, we live in an increasingly murky political world.

It means that the UK’s political world needs to be cleaned up. Let’s channel Trump and clean up the (Westminster) Village.

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