Testimony by a senior policewoman yesterday at the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards was so shocking that even cynical reporters found it hard to discuss, so serious were its implications about corruption at the heart of British life.
Sue Akers talked, factually and unemotionally, about discoveries of systematic large cash payments being made over many years by journalists to senior people at the heart of public life – government, prisons, hospitals, police, the military – in return for titbits of salacious gossip that had nothing to do with public interest. It was revealed also that vitally sensitive information relating to the lives of citizens at risk had been passed to the press by the police.
Sceptics mocked the Leveson Inquiry when it was set-up as being money spent for nothing, but instead it has opened Pandora’s box, revealing starkly the immorality often underpinning the inner workings of British institutions and the frailty of man; the illusion of a society based on decency has been revealed as false, and for those who live here, with pride in their country, the revelation is painful. Corruption has been known in many other countries and in some it is accepted as a way of life, but the UK, with its tradition of democracy and decency has never before seen evidence of it on such a wide and established scale in its modern history.
The second Principle of the New Consciousness philosophy which I teach is all about the importance of discernment, about being able to stand back and look objectively at what is happening in your life and in the world around you. An important aspect of discernment is to be able to be detached with compassion and also without judgment, for while you may be able to see with clarity, you cannot know all the background that has created a situation – what caused a policeman to take a bribe, for example, was it greed, peer pressure, indebtedness, desperation? Only he will know, and only he has responsibility for what he did though the outcome may affect many. It is his karma.
Like lancing a painful boil, so much of good is coming from the Leveson Inquiry even though the procedure is exposing much that is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Changes in a lazy culture are inevitable and, more importantly, it may encourage each of us to scrutinise our own values and morality, particularly where money is involved. If in doubt, don’t do it.