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The reform of public life in modern Britain, 1750–1950
Editors: Ian Cawood and Tom Crook

The many lives of corruption begins the task of piecing together the bigger picture of how corruption has undermined public life in modern Britain. It offers a uniquely expansive perspective, which stretches from the Old Corruption and ‘unreformed’ politics of the eighteenth century through to the mass democracy and welfare state of the twentieth.

Conceptually, as an object of thought, as much as practicably, and as an object of reform, corruption has proved tenaciously problematic and protean. This volume engages with both of these crucial aspects, arguing that it is only by grasping them together that we can fully understand how corruption has shaped the making of a democratic-capitalist state in Britain and given rise to new ideals of public service. It examines the factors that have facilitated and frustrated anticorruption reforms, as well as the various ways ‘corruption’ has been conceived by historical agents. It does so across a range of different sites – electoral, political and administrative, domestic and colonial – presenting new research on neglected areas of reform, while revisiting well-known scandals and corrupt practices. The many lives of corruption is essential reading for all scholars interested in understanding how the pursuit of purity in British public life has evolved over the past two and a half centuries – and why corruption remains such a pressing issue today.

The case of Belfast and Glasgow, c. 1920–70
Peter Jones

in Tory-controlled Westminster in the late 1980s. 1 The two that have attracted the most attention, however, are the corruption scandals that afflicted the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) in the 1880s and the Poulson affair of the 1970s. 2 The former involved secret payments to officials in relation to the leasing of valuable real estate on what would become Shaftesbury Avenue in the

in The many lives of corruption
James L. Newell

a heinous bribe, for another may be an innocent gift. A good illustration of this is provided by the Poulson affair. John Poulson was an English architect born in Yorkshire in 1910. He left school without qualifications and joined a firm of architects, but failed his exams and in 1932 was dismissed. He then established his own firm of architects. Like a number of such companies in the immediate post-­Second World War years, Poulson’s was eager to win lucrative local-authority contracts arising from the massive rebuilding programmes in inner-city areas. After

in Corruption in contemporary politics
Abstract only
A changing agenda
David Hine and Gillian Peele

bodies covered and makes corruption easier to prove Maundy Gregory Honours (Prevention of Abuses) sale of honours Act 1925 Belcher/Stanley scandal Minister accused of influence and Lynskey Tribunal peddling at the Board of Trade Profumo scandal Minister lies to House of Commons about his involvement with Christine Keeler Poulson corruption Architect found to have bribed scandal breaks large number of contacts in government Royal Commission on Investigates standards in wake of Standards of Conduct Poulson affair in Public Life Cash-for-Questions Group of MPs found to be

in The regulation of standards in British public life
Poulson and Smith
Peter Jones

so when the economy moved into recession, Poulson looked overseas from Angola to the United Arab Emirates. The Poulson affair revealed the nature of power in 05_Peter_Ch-4.indd 89 7/29/2013 6:25:16 PM MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 07/29/2013, SPi 90 from virtue to venality post-1950s Britain at least until the break-up of the post-war consensus after 1979. The programme of reconstruction was an ideal vehicle for central government to direct resources through local authorities in the name of social justice and economic recovery. The use of block grants-in-aid of

in From virtue to venality
Conservative responses to nationalisation and Poplarism, 1900–40
Liam Ryan

In May 1974, an editorial in The Times inveighed against the growing affliction of corruption in British public life. 1 Deploring the Poulson affair which had engulfed the career of former Labour council leader T. Dan Smith, the editorial pointed to a wider crisis of public morals. It claimed that ‘in an age of looser morality and softer disciplines’ voters were being

in The many lives of corruption
Abstract only
The British way in corruption
Ian Cawood and Tom Crook

exploited for political gain. The British examples are many: the Marconi affair, the honours scandals of the Edwardian and interwar eras, the Belcher and Poulson affairs of the post-war period and the ‘cash for questions’ affair and expenses scandal of recent decades, to name only a few. For the moment these must remain only tentative signposts towards a more critical historiography of the peculiarities of

in The many lives of corruption
The rise and fall of the Standards Board for England
David Hine and Gillian Peele

is worth, between 1964 and 1972 ten councillors and twenty-two employees were convicted of corruption, and sixteen councillors were convicted of failing to declare pecuniary interests under prevailing Local Government Acts, mostly in isolated cases.6 In general, however, before the 1970s, there was little debate about a systemic problem. The Poulson affair changed this perception fundamentally. As we have seen in Chapter 2, the episode involved systemic collusion between John Poulson’s international architect’s practice and both national and local politicians and

in The regulation of standards in British public life
The slow erosion of self-regulation
David Hine and Gillian Peele

. The Westminster system and the challenge of reform Before the 1990s the regulation of parliamentary conduct in the United Kingdom depended on three elements:  a code of honour, a strong belief in self-regulation, and a series of historical precedents, procedural rulings and understandings. The Strauss Committee in the 1960s had underlined the ambiguities inherent in such a loose system and in 1974, following concerns raised by the Poulson affair, a register of MPs’ interests was finally introduced.18 By the 1990s, however, this approach was clearly inadequate for a

in The regulation of standards in British public life