Tag Archives: cash-for-honours

Joseph Goebbels: “honestly, it’s like living in a police state!”

Reading Sarah Helm‘s article in yesterday’s Observer severely pissed me off, on at least two levels.

  • The complete lack of contrition from Blair’s inner-circle that they had done anything wrong. Lest we forget that if anyone tried raising funds via undeclared loans now, they would be committing a criminal offence. They might not have committed any laws, but they were going around bending them like it was going out of fashion. If Sarah Helm was capable of self-introspection, she might be a little less quick to bemoan how her family has been treated these past few months.
  • If anyone, say the makers of Taking Liberties say, were to go around claiming that the police under the Blair regime have become equivalent to the Gestapo, the Blairistas in the press would tear them several new arseholes. Yet here we have a member of Blair’s inner circle bemoaning that fact that the police, under Blair, have become like the Gestapo. If the police are mob-handed these days, which Prime Minister spent 10 years indulging such behaviour?

Finally, a note of caution about Guido’s attempts to bring a private prosecution on this case. Firstly, I wouldn’t bet your shirt on this getting anywhere. Proving anything over this in a court of law will be difficult even with the CPS behind it. Secondly, is Guido going after all the individuals implicated, or just the Labour ones? After all, the Conservatives are up to their necks in cash-for-honours as well; Michael Howard was even interviewed by the police. I wouldn’t want naive people to think they are giving money to clean up politics when what they are actually doing is funding a partisan exercise in mudflinging. Thirdly, Guido is a cautious soul when it comes to the law and his pledge seems to be deliberately vaguely worded. This isn’t a tenner you’re being asked to cough up for, it is a “donation” of no fixed amount. Sign it and you may find yourself jointly and severably liable for the legal costs incurred, with no say over what is spent and how.

Me? I wouldn’t touch it with your’s, mate.

Graham’s Law

Inspired by Godwin’s Law, I’ve decided to declare a new principle:

As a political row involving any Jewish actors, no matter how tangentially, grows longer, the probability that someone will claim anti-semitism approaches one.

Apparently, for example, the cash-for-honours investigation is now officially anti-semitism. This would be rather more believable were it not for the fact that many of the people being investigated by the police at the moment were being accused of anti-semitism a couple of years ago (the degree to which references to pigs, even flying ones, is genuinely considered to be anti-semitism was put into perspective for me when, walking through the Jewish dominated Golders Green, I saw headlines screaming the allegation on the cover of the local rag, the, um, Ham and High). You can’t make any criticism of Israel without someone, somewhere, making the same accusation.

One point made in today’s Guardian must not be allowed to go unchallenged:

Journalists don’t refer to ‘Christian businessman’ or ‘Protestant businessman’. They only ever talk about Jewish people in that way.

I suspect that Peter Vardy and Robert Edmiston may quibble with that. Jonathan Freedland claims that ‘flamboyant’ is code for ‘Jew’ – I would suggest it is more likely to be code for ‘former Alvin Stardust record producer’. I’m certainly unaware of Lembit Opik‘s Jewish roots (and again, I suspect that calling Lembit flamboyant has more to do with his tendency to turn up to the opening of a paper bag and predilection for celeb gfs than it has to do with his Estonian roots).

The problem is, labelling every criticism of every Jew as anti-semitism is cheapening the term. These claims are in danger of creating exactly the kind of complacency that the people who are so prone to make them appear to be so worried about.

Personally, I find that people lack perspective when it comes to the cash-for-peerages investigation. While selling peerages is clearly wrong and corrupt, it has gone on for decades and it is no worse than giving someone a peerage for loyalty (there is a permanent coterie of brown-nosers which sniffs around the Lib Dem leadership who have a horrific tendency to find their obsequiousness rewarded with a peerage despite making very little financial contribution). Levy and Blair’s greatest crime appears to have been to get caught; and the focus on Levy appears to have more to do with transference due to his affinity with Blair than anything to do with his background.

But lazy allegations of racism risks leading to a guilty man walking free and the public perception that our political system is incapable of curing itself of corruption. So excuse me if I treat such claims with suspicion.

UPDATE: Darn, it looks like Graham’s law is already taken.

UKIP and Blair feel the heat

It just doesn’t seem to get any easier for UKIP, with today’s papers revealing that a) the party had already investigated Tom Wise, found problems and then sat on it and that b) one of their NEC members is an associate of BNP leader Nick Griffin – and a donor.

Establishment plot to discredit them it may be, but if you don’t want to be discredited, a good rule of thumb is to not be quite so disreputable.

Meanwhile the story over the Attorney General’s Injunction against the BBC continues. The theory du jour is that the email in question was leaked by Downing Street in an attempt to derail the process.

It’s fair to say that this theory has some merit – it does seem hard to believe that the police would blag this so late on in the investigation – but this is real down the rabbit hole stuff. I can’t quite bring myself to believe that Jonathan Powell, Ruth Turner et al would leak an email which allegedly incriminates themselves, gambling on a mistrial due to a technicality. On the other hand, if they know they’re going down what do they have to lose?

Ruth Turner

I don’t have a particular brief for the Police, nor do I think that Ruth Turner is a hardened criminal or particularly corrupt (if she is charged, it is to take the wrap for her bosses). But I really can’t understand why Labour politicians are getting their knickers in such a twist over her 6.30am arrest on Friday.

Firstly, this is the party that likes to go on and on about how it is “tough on crime” and how the police should send signals to criminals. The police are just carrying out government policy. Secondly, this is a member of Downing Street staff. I would be surprised if she didn’t get up at the crack of dawn each morning to go to work.

The alternative, as the Guardian suggested on Saturday, would have been to arrest her at her place of work. Yet, you can absolutely guarantee that if the police had done so, exactly the same people would have protested at the “theatrics” of arresting someone at Number 10. The policy are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

You can’t help but suspect that this is a “some animals are more equal than others” moment, coming at the end of a regime that has become so utterly corrupted by the trappings of power that even when they are caught with their hands in the till, the expect to be treated with complete deference.