Who's pushing politicians' buttons?

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Who’s pushing politicians’ buttons?

What’s Sarah Palin doing on the cover of New Internationalist? Don’t we get to see too much of her already? And what’s the connection with corporate lobbying?

Admittedly, there might be more obvious symbols of the cosy relationship between politics and big business than the bear-hunting darling of the Tea Party.

But that’s the point. Such relationships work best when they’re not obvious. And the covert corporate funding of the Tea Party is a mega-PR coup of recent times. It’s one of the examples highlighted in our awards for The 10 Worst Corporate Lobbyists, compiled for us by Corporate Europe Observatory.

Someone whose name is firmly associated with challenging corporate power is veteran writer and activist Susan George. We interview her as her new book Whose Crisis? Whose Future? hits the shops. This month we are also featuring Hugo Blanco, Peru’s living answer to Che Guevara. Today he is a leading eco-activist, campaigning both for the environment and the indigenous people who are defending it against mining and logging companies.

Our debate this month provides food for thought – literally. We ask ‘Is being vegan the only green option?’ And, for a bit of culture, our reviewers choose their best books, music and films of the past year – a first novel by an African writer hitting the top spot.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Plus ça change… Peter Mandelson – the British politician and ex-EU trade commissioner parodied above – has just launched his own PR agency to lobby for foreign corporate interests.

Plus ça change… Peter Mandelson – the British politician and ex-EU trade commissioner parodied above – has just launched his own PR agency to lobby for foreign corporate interests.

Reuters

In the halls of shame

Who shapes the policies and laws that govern us? If you think the answer is ‘our elected politicians’, read on. Vanessa Baird examines the secretive but expanding power of corporate lobbying.

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‘Is this a joke?’ asked one reader, commenting on the online article.

‘I’ve checked the date. It isn’t 1 April,’ responded another.

It was no prank. Britain’s new Con-Dem coalition government really was getting McDonald’s and PepsiCo to help write the national health policy.1

The similes came flooding in.

‘Like Hitler helping to write a policy on religious tolerance.’ Or ‘getting [child murderer] M...




Features

Corporate Influence - The Facts

The facts and figures of party funding, lobbying and the big names involved.

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The best influence money can buy - the 10 Worst Corporate Lobbyists

Dirty cash and dirty tricks – our rogues’ gallery of lobbyists who get governments to dance to their tune.

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Opinion

Photo by Rich Anderson under a CC Licence.

The hole in America's middle

Mark Engler's regular column from the magazine

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Is being vegan the only green option?

Bruce Friedrich of PETA and food author Wayne Roberts debate the best diet for a small planet. Plus your comments.

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Regulars

Interview with Susan George

The political scientist, writer and campaigner for global justice tells Rowenna Davis why the financial crisis is a moral crisis, and explains how to get our wayward leaders under control.

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Hugo Blanco

Leading voice for indigenous rights, Hugo Blanco.

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Guinea-Bissau

A profile of the West African state

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