James Downey: We must halt our moral as well as financial decay
Published 30/10/2010 | 05:00
YOU have to take the "corruption perception index" published by Transparency International with a grain of salt. Perception depends on who is doing the perceiving and who influences the perception.
On the BBC a few nights ago, Jeremy Paxman conducted a telling little interview with the Venezuelan and Finnish ambassadors to Britain. The Venezuelan pointed out that right-wing broadcasters like Fox News influenced the way that Americans view his country. Fox News hate Venezuela because it has a left-wing government. They don't tell you that large numbers of people there go to prison for corruption -- just like the United States, and most unlike a certain country we could mention.
From the Irish viewpoint, the Finnish ambassador was more interesting. His country is famously one of the cleanest in the world. Why? Largely because his people are well-educated and won't put up with malpractice.