Lobbies: the art of bamboozling

Lobbies: the art of bamboozling

DAY

With his legendary verve and acerbic humor, George Bernard Shaw said that “Politicians are like diapers for babies. They have to be changed often, and for the same reasons”.

When you look at the underside of the political arena, such advice is, all things considered, imbued with great wisdom.

Democracy

We are tempted to believe that political decisions are the product of the democratic system that is so dear to us. This is partially true. It is also necessary to take into account the influence of the lobbies which gravitate around politicians and which parasitize and hijack the democratic process in their favor.

There are many lobbyists. During the last fiscal year, 13,594 of them held at least one active mandate. The National Assembly has only 125 seats, which is the equivalent of 108 lobbyists for each elected member. 

The lobbyist does not care royally about the general interest. The well-being of the citizen or the taxpayer does not matter. He is paid, most often by a large corporation, to infiltrate the political apparatus and forge links with those in power to influence their decisions and thus advance his client's agenda. 

Through these influential professionals, special interests extract political privileges that escape the radar of democracy. This is an offensive practice against the public interest that can, in some cases, create fertile ground for backyard deals, back-and-forths and triangle exchanges. No government, regardless of color or era, is immune to such vultures. 

Social injustice

However, time is the best ally of the art of bamboozling. The longer elected officials hold their seats, the more effective lobbyists are. They thus become the great architects of social injustice. On the other hand, when their interlocutors change regularly, they lose their grip, because the work of manipulation is always to be redone. So George Bernard Shaw was absolutely right!

Lobbies: l’art d’ bamboozle