Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

Could 'Loangate' do for Tony?

On the news tonight I see the Electoral Commission and an SNP MP are calling for full investigation of the possible breach of the 1925 Act outlawing the selling of honours. Scotland Yard apparently has a top tec on the job. Could Tony-who would so difficult to shift via party and other political channels- be hounded out of public life in disgrace like Richard Nixon? Many would celebrate such an outcome but is Tony guilty? Of course I have no idea, but the whole business of running a political blog is to speculate and try to read the runes. So what pattern do I see in the tea leaves of this latest event to transfix the Westminster village and its eager watchers?

My feeling is that Blair has been effectively 'selling' honours and is morally guilty of an act which could/maybe should earn him time in the slammer. But is he legally guilty? I would think almost certainly not. He is a lawyer himself and is advised by very clever politically savvy people. I would be very surprised if any loans were handed over on a basis which could see Blair hauled into the dock, just as I'm sure John Major and Thatcher before him not to mention all Prime Ministers back to and certainly including Lloyd George left no traceable fingerprints at the scene of the crime. Cynical perhaps? Certainly once again, but these are professional politicians and, like the top-most professional criminals, they tend not to leave incriminating evidence.

Comments:
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I gather that the last time any politician was in the slammer for trying to exchange honours for favours was back in the '20s, when a minor Tory approached a naval officer with the prospect of a knighthood. The latter shopped the former to the police - he was fined £50 and did 2 months inside, as far as I can remember. As you point out, Skipper, the big boys tend to be more careful.
Whatever the truth of the matter, this whole thing is clearly creating the most awful publicity - and it looks like Tony's protege, 'call me Dave' Cameron, is in the firing line, too. Are the cynics going to be proved right about the rottenness (?) of the entire political class?
 
Mark
To some extent I fear, yes. But we, the voters should appreciate that parties do need money and members are not delivering the goods- in fact the political culture is in a crisis of nonparticipation. Maybe we have some responsibility too and need to start voting more regularly and supporting parties more fulsomely to show we care about our democratic system? As long as we do not politicians are going to be tempted to take the poisoned shillings of the fat cats.

But at the best of times politicians fall subject to the weaknesses inherent in human nature. Not to say we shouldn't be hard on those transgressions which are revealed but maybe we should be grateful too that corruption is not greater than it is in the UK. Look at France and Italy and dodgy dealings seem to be far more part of political process and, to a degree, accepted as inevitable.
 
I suppose we ought to be grateful too that at least our politicians seem to be bending the rules for the good of their parties, rather than for immediate personal gain. I hope!
 
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By the way, my own site tells you where you can get the best deals on seats in the House of Lords.

Don't let all this publicity for the Labour party fool you. There are other parties where you can loan money at much lower interest rates and for longer terms and still get nominated for a peerage!

It always helps to shop around!
 
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