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David Runciman writes:
Britain is a functioning democracy that operates according to the rule of law yet doesn’t seem to mind when other people exploit our institutions for their own purposes. As Mount says, we are not really ‘a full-blown oligarchy’ but ‘a flabby, corroded type of liberal democracy in which the oligarchs have been enjoying a free run’. When both Peter Mandelson and George Osborne find themselves compromised by their inability to avoid the company of unaccountable freebooters like Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild it makes British democracy seem not so much corrupt as incompetent and weak. The politicians are just following the line of least resistance. Standing up to people with vast reserves of wealth and the power to make your life more difficult than it might otherwise be takes a certain amount of effort; certainly more effort than playing along with them does. And playing along with them is more fun. So if no one is going to insist on your doing the difficult thing, why bother? After all, a yacht is a yacht.