Hot lamprey love. Brook lamprey, Lampetra planeri, mating - filmed by YouTube user hvilesteddk.
The UK governing coalition wants to end the bad old days of powerful corporate players being able to have a quiet word at the seventh hole with any minister they wanted a favour off. They know the British public are in no mood for any of that sort of nonsense.
In future, crony capitalism is to become an official Government institution, so that everybody will be able to trust it. The BBC reports:
Plans are under way to give the heads of the UK's 50 top companies a hotline to individual government ministers.
The ministerial "buddies", including Business Secretary Vince Cable, will be just a phone call away for firms like BP, British Gas and GlaxoSmithKline.
The Department for Business said the idea - designed to boost investment - had been welcomed by the companies.
I just bet it has! That'll be two regulations against upstart competitors, an Extra Whopper McSpecial police power against reluctant potential clients, and a bag of Mr Porky Subsidies up the wazoo, to go! Hurry up there boyo, time is money!
Showing special concern for efficiency in these straitened times, Business Secretary and ex-Shell employee Vince Cable is mooted as official buddy to... Shell. But, lest we should smell any rats which absolutely do not exist and are absolutely not whooping it up in the wainscotting, we are reassured that the scheme will:
"fit with the ministerial code of conduct to avoid conflicts and potential conflicts of interest"
"It does not necessarily follow that the best minister to lead on a company would be the one who was most vulnerable to lobbying from that company."
So that's all right, then.
Of course, the loony left are furious. Labour's Shadow Business Secretary John Denham storms that the scheme is:
"...an admission that big companies have completely lost confidence in the ability of government to understand their concerns and priorities".
Rumours that the newly-privileged companies are planning to reciprocate this generous public gesture, by accommodating the entire establishment of Parliamentary draughtsmen on secondment schemes to their head offices, cannot at this stage be confirmed.