In the late Iain Banks’s “The Business”, a multinational company is engaged in a plan to buy itself a seat at the United Nations. It’s a great book, with the idea that a seat at the UN actually being worth anything being one of the few flaws in the book. But the concept itself is sound: a company that could secretly control the appointment of friendly ministers or European commissioners or European Court judges would be a company with power, surely?
Could it be done? What would you need?
1. A European country, as it would give access to the EU institutions including the golden prize, a seat on one of the world’s most powerful regulatory bodies, the European Commission.
2. A stable country with a docile population, that is, one that won’t rise up and overthrow the government you’ve spent a fortune suborning. What’s the point buying off the politicians if the people then storm parliament?
3 A democracy. For the same reason as above, with parties and elections that will look, to all intents and purposes, like a country where differing political forces compete for power, even if in reality the outcome of every election seems to involve the same policies. Ideally with an electorate and media distracted by local pork barrel issues or minor but highly emotional social issues.
4. A political establishment that is either so parochial that it doesn’t grasp what is going on, or so self serving that it will go along with the plan for the “appropriate considerations”.
5. A civil society leadership made up of vested social, religious, professional and commercial interests willing to along with the political establishment, perhaps even when not in the interest of their members.
Get all five of these, and it’s game on. Of course, no such place actually exists. It couldn’t, could it?