NOTW exposed: what about UK PLC?

james and Rupert Murdoch giving evidence to MPsThe lies and cover-ups at the News of the World and at the heart of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp are unravelling day by day. Optimists say it shows that this kind of cover-up can never work, that the truth will out. I suspect not.

I suspect that every UK PLC has some dark secret they have been keeping quiet for years. It's dirty business.

Getting away with it

The NoTW scandal shows that the company has successfully lied, given half-truths and created smokescreens to cover up its dodgy dealings. And for years it got away with it.

It was happy to make a scapegoat of Clive Goodman, its royal reporter jailed for phone hacking. It exaggerated a letter from lawyers saying they had found nothing in a tiny examination of a small number of documents as evidence the company had commissioned a widespread inquiry delving into its archives.

Statements made to MPs by the Murdochs, Rebeccah Brooks and Andy Coulson, have been challenged and evidence produced to the contrary. The brazen, bare-faced cheek of it astounds everyone.

Widespread cover-ups

Yet I suspect it is the tip of the iceberg in corporate Britain. I am not saying other companies have phone hacked or hired private investigators to do so – though I suspect that many have.

What I am saying is that I bet many companies have dodgy deals and iffy practices that they know about and have concealed for years. And I suspect that many have got away with it, possibly with equally brazen lies.

We know companies tell porkies to get what they want. Kraft made promises about Cadbury jobs to secure its takeover. Once the takeover was through, those promises, like chocolate on a sunny day, melted away.

Hidden scandals

I suspect that UK PLC has untold hidden scandals. I bet there's bad new buried in boardrooms about mines in Africa, oil wells in Nigeria, chemical spills in India. I bet drug companies know about side-effects long before their drugs get banned.

The banks all knew they were artificially accounting for fictitious financial resources before the collapse of Lehman brothers and the worldwide crash. Corporate Britain is riddled with corruption and cover ups.

I'd like to see the government, police and regulators take a proper look in boardrooms of big business and search for skeletons in closets across PLCs.

And I'd like judges to come down on bosses found wanting as hard as they coming down on the high street looters of the recent riots.

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