Wednesday, January 31, 2007

[peerages] let he who is without sin cast the first stone

When I want a peerage, I shall buy it like an honest man. [Lord Northcliffe, 1974]

Perhaps I’m thick. Perhaps I don’t understand politics. I can’t see, for the life of me, what Blair has done so wrong that every PM before him hasn’t done. Far be it for this blog to defend Tony Blair but what’s with this arrest and charging business? As United Press said:

The entire affair turns on accusations that Blair and his team "sold" honors such as peerages and knighthoods in return for political loans and donations to the Labour Party. The reality is that every British government in history has rewarded its most generous and devoted supporters with the title of Sir this or Lord that. In the old days, Kings handed out such enoblements in return for loyalty in battle, or for acquiescence in the presence of an attractive wife or daughter in the royal bedchamber. These days, the reward is more usually for political and financial loyalty.

Then there is the affair of Jeffrey Archer. The darling of the Tories, suddenly he was in prison and what did he do any more than any other politician? Your answer, in both cases, might be a simple one: “They were caught.” Seems to me the party politics is far outweighing any actual wrongdoing. Ditto in the United States.


Ellee said...

I wonder how far back the police are checking on this, could they be looking much further back than we suspect? I guess they could keep looking over the last few decades and come up with some suspicious links. Could this could spell the end of peerages, are they elitist and out dated?

Ian Grey said...

"Child molesting has gone on for centuries with choirmasters so why should we worry about it?"

This Government has raised sleaze to an art form, even putting the Tories to shame.

To my mind, The rot started when that scummy bully Alistair Campbell started blatantly manipulating the lobby briefings, excluding those papers off-message.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I entirely agree with you, James. They've all been at it!

Not Saussure said...

They may well all have been at it, but few, I think, have been at it so blatantly as this lot; and selling honours is, after all, a criminal offence.

It's one thing to bend the rules within accepted, and acceptable, limits; maybe it shouldn't go on, but it does in just about every large organisation, and the British government is no exception. Indeed, the British state is, by and large, very good at that sort of thing -- a bit of hypocracy and humbug where absolutely necessary, but nothing too blatant or obviously corrupt.

It's quite another to decide that, since the rules get bent a bit sometimes, they don't really matter and that you be pretty blatant about ignoring them. Especially if you made such a big thing about being anti-sleaze when you were in opposition.

Fabian Tassano said...

I agree with you James insofar as this exemplifies the new culture of overzealous policing of white collar crime, speech "crime", etc. -- while at the same time being relatively tolerant of old-fashioned crimes such as burglary and murder. A shift in the class war methinks.

On the other hand, I feel a certain Schadenfreude in seeing those who trumpeted their ethical credentials getting found out for being the cynical opportunists that they are.

BTW, much prefer your current font.

james higham said...

Thank you one and all here - yes, Blair's lot have been particularly bad. He's sold out to the EU, lock stock and barrel.