The Americanization of British Politics

John Profumo, now he knew how to resign and stay resigned.

The old joke was knowing when a politician was lying by watching for any mouth movement. In recent history it’s not a joke anymore, it’s the accepted truth. It would be easy to blame it on the MPs’ expense scandal, but I think it goes further back than that.

As Peter Oborne, from a right wing perspective, is fond of pointing out, there is a lack of any sort of honour among our current crop of politicians. He places a lot of the blame on Blair and he is not totally wrong to do so, but even that is not the whole picture. Certainly truth takes a back seat with the heirs to Blair, Cameron and Clegg. They will quite happily talk about being the protectors of the NHS when we know that the US health companies have been lobbying senior Tories for years and have a lot of sway on policy. A year before the election when Osborne’s conference speech on the austerity he would impose didn’t go down too well with the electorate, it was dropped from their election platform. Let’s not even bother going into Clegg’s tuition fee pledge, the excuses are just too easy to see through. Read more »

Should Mulcaire be offered immunity?

Let him turn Queen's evidence?

The Leveson inquiry is in part two of its three parts and now is looking at the corruption of public officials by the press, and this time it seems mainly by Sun journalists. The suspicion has to be that the Metropolitan Police Service was being corrupted by its links, financial and otherwise, to News International. That leaves us in the unfortunate situation of Met investigating itself, which can hardly be reassuring no matter how good a job Sue Akers, an Assistant Commissioner of the Met, is doing.

One of the many mistakes made in the last police inquiry was not to look for who gave the orders and benefited from the crime. Mulcaire and Goodman served their sentences and continued to be financed by News International. Mulcaire is now looking down the barrel of a possibly far longer stay inside and must feel that he’s already done his time and it should now be the turn of someone else. As it seems like an awful lot of the phone hacking went through Mulcaire, shouldn’t he be given the chance of immunity in return for full disclosure of the involvement of News International and its journalists.

I don’t know how this works although I suspect that Akers needs to bring in the Crown Prosecution Service. If Mulcaire is ready to spill the beans the same offer can be made to the implicated journalists and so on, until the top people of this criminal conspiracy are bought to justice.

Statements by Gove attacking the Leveson inquiry and by Boris Johnson attacking police resources being spent on their inquiry, suggest that senior levels of the Conservative party would be happy for it to go away. Can we really trust the Home Secretary, Theresa May, not to lean on the Met? Much of Britain’s tabloid press is also under fire so the public and those broadsheets that have shown they are willing to expose the wrongdoing should be on their guard.

It’s the cover up that gets them

Mafia Don and his Moll?

In the court papers of the Charlotte Church case against News International (NI) we now have proof that senior NI executives decided that emails should be deleted in order not to be used against them in court. To their shame NI put Church’s mother under pressure in order to force Charlotte to settle out of court. It seems more like the attitude to justice one would expect from the mafia. Hang on. Didn’t someone already suggest that connection.

Hard to see now how the police can do anything other follow a case of perverting the course of justice against the Murdochs.

First impressions are often correct

That's Emma Harrison of A4e, not Cherie Blair

I suspect if there was an objective way of checking if first impressions were correct, the result would be massively positive. Over my far too many years one impression I have learned to respect is the one where I feel if my wallet is still in my back pocket as the then present company strikes me as someone who wouldn’t think twice about lifting it out for themselves.

The first time I saw Emma Harrison on TV I had a feeling this was a women aiming at coining in as much as possible in as short a time as possible. Back then there was some sort of business relationship with David Blunkett which carries its own distinct smell. With the incoming Tory government the public purse was there for picking and Emma did just that. Her share of the profits last year was £8.6 million. What is the tax on dividends? Much less than the 50p rate I guess. Read more »

Is James Murdoch on the lam?

Wanted?

Rupert Murdoch promises to spend the next three months in Britain launching his replacement for the disgraced News of the World and supporting the Sun’s beleaguered journalists. The latter is not a very easy balancing act as he has also set up an operation to turn those same journalists over to the police. The whole of News International in Britain has reached that tipping point that anti organized crime fighters in American police departments and the FBI look for. This is when as more senior figures are thrown to the wolves they in turn will implicate those above them. You know Tom Watson wasn’t  so wrong in comparing the Murdochs to a mafia family.

What’s interesting is that Rupert was accompanied by his son Lachlan instead of his usual companion on business trips to Britain, his other son James, who is among other things the head of their British operations. Could it be the most recent disclosures of emails that James received have given  him the feeling that he could be arrested if he returns to Britain? Is the head of BSkyB on the lam? Will he be a fit and proper person according to Ofcom?

Being nice to a Tory

David Ruffley - Tory MP

Having just been rather rude about the appearance of a Tory minister below I think I will now be nice to a Tory MP.

David Ruffley has an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph where he looks at why we haven’t come to terms with the bankers and the catastrophe they produced. He even looks at the question of whether any of our bankers and regulators should have faced criminal proceedings and although he doesn’t come up with the same answer as me at least he is prepared to talk about it.

Well worth reading, you can find it here. I do wish some Labour MPs would not leave this matter to rest and demand an inquiry similar to what the Americans had, even if it means grilling Darling who spent more government money in a few days than any other British minister ever I suspect.

The greed’s still there

Simon Burns

Simon Burns

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph buying the purloined MP expenses CD we found out just how many of our politicians followed the ‘Greed  is Good’ line from the 1970s. Now we are beginning to see how the very topmost layer of our civil service was quite happy to follow it also.

Last year the porcine Simon Burns, Minister of Health, answered an opposition question on whether Department of Health officials were billing the department via limited companies rather than taking a salary in order to minimize their taxes. He responded in the negative which we now find out was as close to telling a lie that’s possible without it actually being a lie. Of course the question allowed that line because it’s pretty obvious that once a civil servant changes to this form of remuneration he would no longer be a DoH employee. Read more »

A few more downstairs

Need more servants?

It’s good to know Cameron’s government is taking care of all sections of society including its own. Saw on the Telegraph’s website their idea to give employers of maids, gardeners, cleaners and such a tax break for having domestic staff. Of course they are doing this so more servants can be employed rather than to help those that can afford servants I’m sure.

Having thought a bit more about this I have another suggestion. Having heard of the sexual peccadilloes of many of our MPs, maybe we could give them tax breaks on the use of rent boys or prostitutes? It may even reduce some of the MPs and ministers staffing requirements and costs.

Some people get it

I know I harp on about income disparity and how it has widened since the mid-seventies. There are others who do see this as the major problem in society today, and not least of these are those attending Davos this year. Listen to Gillian Tett of the Financial Times talking about this on BBC’s This Week.