Peter Geoghegan

Peter Geoghegan is the editor-in-chief of openDemocracy. His latest book is Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics.

Short Cuts: At NatCon London

Peter Geoghegan, 1 June 2023

Iheardthe National Conservatism Conference before I saw it. Rounding a corner in Westminster last Monday morning, I was met with the high-pitched whine of a cheap amplifier turned up too loud. On the mic, the long-time anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray was ululating ‘Why, why, why, Suella?’ to the tune of Tom Jones’s ‘Delilah’. He finished with a rhyming...

Short Cuts: Libel Tourism

Peter Geoghegan, 16 March 2023

Last May​, I was invited to the Ministry of Justice to take part in a discussion of ‘Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation’ (Slapps): legal cases whose purpose is to harass, intimidate and silence public criticism. I was ushered into a small, airless room with a group of other journalists and civil servants. Nothing would be attributed, we were assured, but our...

From The Blog
16 June 2021

At times it appears as if the courts are the only place an increasingly powerful executive can be held to account. As a leading Fleet Street reporter said to me shortly after the Public First ruling, ‘the opposition can’t lay a glove on the government. We struggle to, too. Only the courts seem able to stop Johnson.’

Short Cuts: On Greensill

Peter Geoghegan, 6 May 2021

Labour hopes that sleaze is Johnson’s weakness. Internal party polling suggests the scandals are registering with voters, particularly in the ‘Red Wall’ seats. The shadow cabinet office minister, Rachel Reeves, has called for an ethics and integrity commission to guarantee standards in public life (but Cameron made grand promises in opposition too). Greensill has prompted a panic about lobbying, but the real and enduring scandal is the power of money in British politics. Cameron, like Tony Blair and many others, saw nothing wrong in selling his access to the highest bidder. Britain’s political culture appears intensely relaxed about perceptions of cronyism and nepotism. Corporate donations grease the wheels for lucrative public contracts. Honours are dished out to party funders. Last December, Johnson defied the recommendation of the Lords Appointment Commission when he elevated the Tory donor Peter Cruddas to the Lords.

Short Cuts: FOI

Peter Geoghegan, 4 February 2021

Tony Blair​’s long-winded memoir A Journey (2010) is strikingly light on self-recrimination. He regrets ‘with every fibre of my being’ the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq, but ‘can’t regret the decision to go to war’. George W. Bush was ‘a true idealist’. Even Silvio Berlusconi comes in for praise. Blair did, however, lambast himself...

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