Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Scorpion and the Frog

I would normally leave this sort of thing to Guidale, but Gordon has asked for my thoughts on cash for peerages, so here goes. With the Attorney General's injunction, it becomes clear that charges may well be imminent. I am inclined to agree with Guidale's suggestion that the leak that led to the injunction came from Downing Street. He says this is because, having accepted the evidence against them is so strong, the staffer(s) at Number Ten want to portray themselves as victims. In fact, I suspect it is more likely they want fatally to prejudice the case; the police saw this coming, pinned the AG against a wall and obliged him to thwart his boss's plans. Either way, it seems the crime here is not selling peerages - a very difficult charge to nail and, anyway, so what? - but the cover-up that ensued. So the big picture is this: Blair does a few dodgy but unremarkable deals with rich donors. This is exposed and a police investigation launched. All of which would have fizzled out but for the fact that Downing Street is so obsessed with news and image management that it rushed to cover up the dodgies, an unnecessary move, but, as the scorpion said to the frog, 'it is in my nature'. This lands them in worse trouble by giving the police a real crime - interfering with the course of justice - to investigate. Unable to learn from their mistakes, Blair's people then continue to meddle by leaking against themselves to the BBC, a move which, once again, makes things worse. The spinners have spun themselves into a dizzy, incompetent stupor. But they are scorpions, it is in their nature. They are too dizzy to remember, if they ever knew, that the scorpion drowns along with the frog.


  1. Agreed. And not only is this issue of negligible interest in the world beyond Whitehall and the media, but I predict that no-one will be convicted.

    The one thing Blairites do believe in is the plasticity of the truth. For them, an e-mail isn't incriminating: one can forge the sender and recipient of an e-mail; someone else can use your e-mail client if you leave it unattended; and various different interpretations can be placed upon the meaning of the text in the e-mail.

    The only way to deal with these people (and Cameron is cut from the same cloth) is to pay them no attention, and withdraw their mandate by not voting for them.

  2. By "not voting for them", I'm not sure what the plausible alternatives are.

    I think it's more a deeply damaging and careless self-regard that any government, ruling for as long as the present administration has, is likely to suffer from.

    New Labour is drunk on the trappings of power, its weary, cirrhosised representatives clinging to it like a Bardolph-nosed tramp clutching a can of stale Tennent's Super.

    A switch to Gordo, ragardless of the breathless absurdity of the touted '100 days of initiatives', is hardly going to change that.

    But I don't really see any realistically electable party in the UK behaving with significantly more transparency or propriety after a (crucially unchallenged) decade in office.

    And the hapless, prehistoric pre-Cameron Tories must take their share of the blame for that.

    Whoever wins the next general election, having one party breathing down the other's neck (as seems likely) has to, in my possibly naively hopeful mind, have some kind of positive effect on such atrocious, hard-wired official misbehaviour.

  3. I think, among some very stern competition, you are probably the worst columnist I have ever read.

  4. I'm not strictly a columnist, but thanks for visiting, Chancellor.

  5. Thank you Bryan for such an astute analysis of the latest bizarre turn in the cover-up. Ignore the previous comment. Also one should vote. Otherwise these people would fear nothing.

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