He should have just stuck with a TESSA

(the headline doesn’t work quite as well with ISA)

I think I’m about the only person on Earth who is actually sympathetic to Tessa Jowell’s plight over the past week. I have some insight into the stresses of public life, how it screws up politicians’ personal lives and the degree to which they depend on being able to trust their friends and loved ones. It doesn’t surprise me that she might leave a major financial decision to her husband, even when £350,000 is involved.

Today’s announcement of their decision to split all too clearly demonstrate that she genuinely didn’t know what he was up to. It was clearly a betrayal of trust on his part to not tell her – I can see how that might destroy a marriage.

We don’t all have the luxury of falling in love with the right person. In Tessa Jowell’s case, she appears to have fallen for a complete shit. Rather than hounding her out of office, politicians should pause for thought before judging her too harshly.


  1. I’d like to agree but I’m not sure I can.

    Ministers might delegate some things to their spouses but they can’t delegate their duty to ensure they comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct (weak Code that it arguably is anyway).

    Tessa Jowell says she didn’t know the nature of the investment to which her assets or equity were, on the strength of her signature, applied. If she neither know nor reasonably enquired she cannot have satisfied herself that no conflict of interest was created with her public duties.

    Ergo, she has effectively admitted a breach of the Ministerial Code and IMHO the sum must make it a more than frivolous breach.

    It’s a sad case but putting the blame entirely on someone else (in this case her husband) is very very New Labour.

  2. I don’t disagree that the buck stops with Jowell and not Mills, just that the error, on her part, was all too human. That suggests she ought to be censured, not face the sack.

  3. I’m not unsympathetic to her. If you can’t trust your husband then who can you trust? I don’t see what is to be gained by hounding her out of office. I did chuckle a bit today when Chris Huhne was on the radio putting the boot into her. Isn’t this the guy who doesn’t know if he is a multi millionaire!?

    I’d much rather have the french system where by you can end up in jail for policy cock ups but privacy laws protect your mistresses.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.