The film "Minority Report" – Pre-Crime, and Pre-Bribe

People may have seen the rather good (IMHOP) film “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise.

The basic plot idea is that in the future the authorities have a means of detecting serious crimes just before they are about to happen, using a sort of hi tech clairvoyant.

Tom Cruise and his hi tech cops then zoom off and arrest the about-to-commit-murder criminal, and he is charged with Pre-Crime – a crime he didn’t commit but would have committed but for the police intervention.  It’s a good yarn.


I would like to propose a new concept – Pre-Bribe.  This is where people would be guilty of Pre-Bribe if they behaved in a way in which it could be reasonably inferred that they had acted whilst in government for the benefit of parties who would subsequently reward them with a nicely paid consultancy, a non-exec seat on the Board etc.  Note, no crime has actually taken place, no envelopes have changed hands, and we are not for a moment suggesting it has, and no explicit communications needs to have occurred, but as long as both parties could reasonably be assumed to “understand” what is going on and what is going to happen, this can be deemed Pre-Bribe.

Recent examples:

There have numerous examples of Ministers promoting a policy either explicitly or tacitly, who then pop up out of government on the boards of companies who have benefited from their policies – this is a clear violation of democratic principles.

Pre-bribe and Energy Policy

This is of course one of the ways the Energy Industries get the Energy Policy they want – ie business / carbon as usual plus green wash.

Any more examples gratefully appreciated.

Please add any more examples to the list using the comments section below – I’d like to build up a longer list.

If you look at the fuss the Daily Telegraph has created over MPs fiddling their expenses – these are really rather minor and irrelevant sums, compared to the vast amounts of money invested, effectively on our behalf, and largely wasted.  That is the real scandal the newspapers refuse to pick up on, and makes some people think we are as corrupt as those folk in Kabul.

Enter Ernest Marples
Beeching had been appointed to his post as head of British Railways by Tory transport minister Ernest Marples (later ‘Sir’, and later still ‘Lord’). Marples (1907 – 1978) was not just a government minister, he also owned a construction company, Marples-Ridgeway. Marples-Ridgeway’s main concern was—wait for it—constructing roads. They contributed to several motorway projects during the fifties and sixties and also constructed the Hammersmith flyover in London. When it was pointed out that being transport minister as well as a road builder might be construed as a conflict of interest he (grudgingly?) agreed, and divested himself of his shares in Marples-Ridgeway—to his wife! Sleaze, anyone…?

In 1959 Ernest Marples had given the go-ahead for Britain’s first motorway, the M1 which initially ran from London to Nottingham and followed closely the London to Nottingham railway line. Which company was given the contract to build the M1? Marples-Ridgeway, of course. And when Marples then closed the railway line there was no other way for people or freight to get from London to Nottingham than by road.

It is quite astonishing, with even a little thought applied to the matter, that the person responsible for closing the railways was also getting the contracts to build the roads that would have to replace them. It was Ernest Marples who closed one third of Britain’s railways, not Beeching, who was merely the civil servant who wrote a report on the subject.

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