Corruption exists where a person or persons seek to obtain an advantage at the expense of others by bribery. Bribery may take several forms in addition to cash payments;- patronage, nepotism and promises of future or conditional benefits are examples. Recipients of bribes are expected to repay them with favours or services. In the specific case of politics, repayment is usually required in the form party activism. For persons not directly involved in the political system, the advantage sought may be favouritism in the award of contracts for public works or other public purposes, or the expenditure of public funds to the advantage of favoured individuals.
Corruption can only flourish when it is hidden from public view. This condition is much easier to achieve in a modern government than it was in a Greek city-state.
The practice of Lobbying, originally intended to ensure that the interests of minority groups were not ignored, appears to have become part of the corruption weaponry – primarily because it is concealed from public view. Although still fulfilling it’s original purpose, it is often used by business interests to further their ends, which was not the original intention.
There are, at least in the US, regulations governing the activies of professional lobbyists, which require disclosure of information. This information, however, is not disclosed to the public at large, but only to the relevant government department.
As lobbying has now become an international activity seeking to influence government policy to the advantage of foreign businesses, non-disclosure of this information leaves a country’s population ignorant of facts that could have a significant influence on it’s voting policy.
The electoral group may vary from the complete electorate to a number of smaller groups of equal size. Smaller groups will not necessarily be representative of the whole electorate, as the prevailing circumstances in each area will form a subset of those affecting the whole country. Voters in an area that is predominantly agricultural, for example, can be expected to vote differently on many matters to voters in an area that is heavily industrial.
The boundaries of electoral groups are not fixed but may be changed by the current government on the recommendations of a Boundary Commission. Any change in boundaries will have no effect on the current government, except where a by-election takes place within an affected group. Any effect occasioned by a boundary change will normally first be felt at the first election after the change has taken place. A change in boundary may be required by a shift of population or natural increase.
A change in boundary could have the effect of changing the resultant political balance of the group as a whole. This is a common method of influencing an overall election result. Where the boundary change is instigated with the intention of achieving a specific change in political balance, corruption of the system occurs. This practice is known as Gerrymandering.