Saturday, March 04, 2006

 

Jowells' split a defensive ploy?

It's hard to be sure about Tessa Jowell and her break from her husband, David Mills. I'm sure the pressure of the last few weeks, let alone the years this case has in reality lasted, has not been good for the Jowells' marital harmony. Maybe she also discovered something about his dealings which has caused a reappraisal of her relationship with her lawyer husband.

Now we hear she has broken up and immediately the cynical question arises: is this a ploy? Firstly it places distance between her and Mills, the better to preserve her career if his implodes. Secondly, and this would be subtly effctive, it gives credence to the story that she was anaware of David's activities with the loans and mortgages. What sort of a marriage is it when wife knows nothing of a third of a million pounds 'gift' to husband? One which is breaking down of course, when communication has ceased. Maybe this is being desperately unfair to Jowell but- given the parlous state of her political position- this just might have been an underlying consideration.

Comments:
After years of Tony's spin, we seem to have lost sight of a basic and old-fashioned notion - that HM's ministers are responsible for ensuring that they and their spouses do not receive any improper gifts.

In fact, it is clear that Jowell knew exactly that the first mortgage was rapidly repaid. Otherwise, the subsequent transactions do not make sense. Her political "ignorance" is undeserving of comment.

But let's assume that Tessa really, really didn't know about hubby's Mafia dealings. This is PRECISELY why SHE MUST RESIGN to take responsibility for things that went wrong in the public aspects of her marriage. She was never shy about enjoying the good things her marriage brought her.

Tony has worked hard to make us forget the difference between political responsibility, and criminal responsibility in U.S. cop shows.

Political responsibility for personal matters is strict, whether the politician knew about an issue or not, and whether or not he or she caused the situation. Where there is reasonable doubt as to a minister's probity or reasonable behavior, the minister MUST RESIGN.

Tessa Jowell must resign today.

* * * * *
 
It is all very New Labour isn't it? Mills earns his living advising rich people how to avoid paying tax (which, I suppose, is only for "little people"); he - like Blair - is pals with Berlusconi (a right-wing populist who has a fascist as his Foreign Minister and has links with the mafia); he appears to have taken a bung from Berlusconi (that's pretty much what he says in his letter to his accountant); he argues with the Inland Revenue because he doesn't want to pay tax on the bung (!); and of course there are all those mortgages and hedge funds. Poor Tessa didn't bother her pretty little head about any of this although when she signed the second application form in March 2002 she must have known one of the loans had been repaid, because she said there were no loans outstanding. The constant refrain is that she "has done nothing wrong". It does seem that she - as distinct from Mills who may soon face a charge of perjury in Italy - has done nothing criminal. But is it really the case that if you have done nothing illegal it follows that you have done nothing wrong? Is that what is mean by "traditional values in a modern setting"?
 
Seems like my two comments reflect a degree of cynical disbelief exceeding even my own. Despite protesations of innocence and outrage by Jowell and hubbie, I note most comment in press to date tends towards the cynical interpretation as well.
 
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