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The Corruption of New Labour: Britainís Watergate?


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:59 PM

I have argued over the years on this Forum that Tony Blair is a corrupt politician and needs to be removed from power. Recently events suggest that we might be on the verge of discovering the exact scale of his crimes. I suspect this is not the case and will end up as Britainís Watergate. In the sense that Nixon was forced to resign but the full account of his crimes were never revealed to the public.

Let me outline my case against Tony Blair. The story begins before Blair became leader of the Labour Party. In the past, attempts to undermine the Labour Party took place either just before or during a Labour Government. Kier Hardy was incorruptible but the ruling elite got rid of Labourís first government, led by Ramsay MacDonald, with the Zinoviev Letter in 1924. More sophisticated methods were then used on MacDonald after that and by 1931 he was willing to completely sell-out the Labour Party.

It took many years to overcome this treachery but by 1945 the Labour Party was able to win control again. Clement Atlee was also fairly incorruptible but fellow leaders of the party were willing to accept the money of the CIA via Tom Braden and the International Organizations Division to move to the right. This created internal division in the Labour government was by 1951 it had lost its majority.

Harold Wilson was the next Labour prime minister. We now know that MI5 and the CIA began a long drawn out campaign to undermine his government. Edward Heath suffered from the same forces as he was considered by the establishment to be far too left wing. James Callaghan and Denis Healey (one of the original targets of CIA money in the late 1940s) successfully moved Labour to the right after Wilson was finally removed in 1976. Callaghan and Healey introduced monetarism that was developed by Margaret Thatcherís period in office.

In 1986, the newly elected Tony Blair took a ďfreebieĒ tour of the United States. At the time he was a member of CND. While in Washington he announced he had changed his mind and that that the ďvisit had persuaded him of the value of nuclear weaponsĒ. The intelligence services always prefer their placements to have been a former ďleft-wingerĒ because they rarely move back again after they have been ďconvertedĒ.

In March, 1994, Blair was introduced to Michael Levy at a dinner party at the Israeli embassy in London. Levy was a retired businessman who now spent his time raising money for Jewish pressure-groups. After this meeting, Levy acquired a new job, raising money for Tony Blair. According to Robin Ramsay (The Rise of New Labour, page 64), Levy raised over £7 million for Blair).

In an article by John Lloyd published in the New Statesman on 27th February, 1998, the main suppliers of this money included Sir Emmanuel Kaye (Kaye Enterprises), Sir Trevor Chin (Lex Garages), Maurice Hatter (IMO Precision Group) and Maurice Hatter (Sage Software).

In April, 1994, John Smith died and Blair won the leadership contest. With Levyís money, Blair appointed Jonathan Powell as his Chief of Staff. A retired diplomat, Powell was not a member of the Labour Party. In fact, his brother, Charles Powell, was Margaret Thatcher's right hand man.

Alastair Campbell was the other man brought into his private office with Levyís money. Powell and Campbell were later to become key figures in the later invasion of Iraq. It is of course a pure coincidence that this decision reflected the thinking of Israelís government.

Another important figure in the corruption of Tony Blair was the media baron, Rupert Murdoch. It was widely believed that Labour Party lost the 1992 General Election because of the anti-Labour campaigns of Murdockís newspapers.

In 1995 Tony Blair flew to Australia to ďpledge his allegiance at a meeting of News Internationalís executivesÖ an extraordinary act of fealtyĒ. (Peter Oborne, Alastair Campbell: New Labour and the Rise of the Media ClassĒ page 141)

As a result of this meeting Murdochís papers were, at worst, neutral towards Labour. Alastair Campbell began writing articles to go under Blairís name in the Murdoch papers. (Robin Ramsay, The Rise of New Labour, page 67)

It was later announced that Blair had signed a book contract with Harper Collins (a company owned by Rupert Murdoch). The deal was worth £3.5 million to Blair. This information only came out when Blair used the contract as security when he purchased his house in London. Margaret Thatcher and John Major got similar book deals with Harper Collins. Of course, the royalties near reach the multi-million advances paid for them. However, it is a great way of bribing a prime minister.

To create ďNew LabourĒ, Blair had to start removing the links with the trade union movement. Traditionally, the trade unions had been the main providers of money to the Labour Party. However, if Blair was going to this he had to find other financial backers. This became Sir Michael Levyís job. However, the problem with obtaining large donations is that they always expect something back in return. Businessmen have always seen donations to political parties as an ďinvestmentĒ. Recently, there has been much speculation about this money being used to buy ďhonoursĒ.

For example, all but one of Labourís top donors who have given over £1m has received a peerage. The exception is Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate. He was rewarded in other ways - the Romanian steel contract. This is the reality of large political donations. The granting of honours is just a sideshow. It is the granting of other political favours that is the real scandal.

For example, soon after he was elected as prime minister, Blair announced that sport was being exempted from the ban on tobacco advertising. Everyone was surprised by this broken election promise until it was revealed that Bernie Ecclestone had given the Labour Party £1 million a few weeks previously.

Another example of Blairís corruption concerns his relationship with the businessman, Paul Drayson. Blair had a meeting with Drayson on 6th December, 2001. Soon afterwards two things happened: (1) Drayson donated £100,000 to the Labour Party; (2) Draysonís company, PowerJect, won a £32 million contract to produce a smallpox vaccine. The most surprising aspect of this contract was that it was not put out to open tender. If it had of been the contract would have gone to a German-Danish company called Bavarian Nordic. It is this company that Drayson has purchased the smallpox vaccine from. It is believed that Drayson paid Bavarian Nordic £12m for the vaccine. In other words his £100,000 investment has resulted in a £20m profit. In all, Drayson has given £1.1m to New Labour. This was a good deal for Drayson, he was also given a peerage as a result of this donation.

Another company that has a strange relationship with Blair is Jarvis Engineering. The chairman of this company is Steven Norris. He was formerly a Conservative MP and served as Minister of Transport (1992-1996). However, he decided to leave the House of Commons to become chairman of Jarvis Engineering. Although still a member of the Conservative Party, Norris decided it would be a good idea to make large donations of money to the Labour Party.

This was followed by a change of Labour Party policy. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had in opposition been strong opponents of the Public Finance Initiative (PFI). A scheme brought in by the Conservative government that enabled private companies to obtain government contracts to provide public sector services. Jarvis Engineering had done extremely well out of this scheme. Blair and Brown decided that this scheme was now a good one. It was not very surprising that Jarvis Engineering soon began winning PFI contracts given out by the Labour Government. Jarvis was not the only company that found it very beneficial to give money to ďNew LabourĒ. History shows that it seems a very good way to get PFI contracts.

When Tony Blair was elected he promised to reform the House of Lords in order to make it acceptable in a democratic society. However, he has failed to do this and Robin Cook disclosed in his diaries that Blair was never keen to reform the second chamber. The reasons are clear. Selecting who should be in the House of Lords gives tremendous power to the prime minister. It is also a source of income as Blair has been selling honours for the last nine years.

Giving money to New Labour is good business. In 2001 Richard Desmond gave £100,000 to New Labour. Within days the DTI gave permission for Desmond to buy Express newspapers for £125m. Afterwards he admitted it was a good deal as New Labour spent £114,000 advertising in his newspapers ďso I actually made money on the deal.Ē

Over the last five years, 17 out of the 22 donors who have donated more than £100,000 have been given some kind of honour.

The publicity over links between donations, honours, and government contracts (PFI was always going to lead to government corruption) has resulted in Blair developing a new tactic. This involves businessmen in providing loans rather than gifts. Loans do not have to be declared. The idea is that several years after the contract has been given or the honour awarded, the loan is turned into a gift.

Chai Patel (1.5m), Sir David Garrard (1m) and Barry Townsley (1m) all gave this money to Lord Levy (Blairís bagman). It has now been revealed that over £14 million in loans was raised by Levy before the 2005 election. As a businessman myself, I find it difficult to understand why Labour has been willing to sell honours in exchange for loans. How are they ever going to be paid back? Since 1997 the membership of the Labour Party has fallen by over 50%. Trade union contributions to the party have also nearly dried up. Therefore, the only way they will be able to pay this money back is by raising this money in donations. It is financial madness? Or is it? Remember, leading Labour Party officials are claiming that they knew nothing about these loans. Is it possible that some members of the party have received money for arranging these loan deals? The Labour Party is in danger of going bankrupt. One of the reasons the Labour Party sought out these loans is that its bankers refused to provide the necessary overdraft to fight the election.

Even this is not the great scandal waiting to be exposed. This involves the relationship between Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell, Alastair Campbell, Michael Levy, Rubert Murdoch, etc. and the funding of the Labour Party and the Iraq War. Is it possible that some of these loans came from companies who have benefited from the Iraq War? This is of course what has happened in the United States (Halliburton & Bechtel). Is this the reason that Tony Blair is reluctant to reveal who gave such large loans in 2005?

We now know that Lyndon Johnson manipulated Congress in order to start the Vietnam War. We also know that the greatest beneficiaries of the war was three companies based in Texas, Brown & Root, General Dynamics and Bell Corporation. All three companies had been long-term financial backers of LBJ. Will we find out the same thing about Blair and his backers? The fact that the man who arranged these loans was Sir Michael Levy.

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 07:15 PM

Tony Blair has just released the list of the businessmen who provided the loans.

Rod Aldridge - £1m
Richard Caring - £2m
Gordon Crawford - £500,000
Prof Sir Christopher Evans - £1m
Nigel Morris - £1m
Sir Gulam Noon - £250,000
Dr Chai Patel - £1.5m
Andrew Rosenfeld - £1m
Lord David Sainsbury - £2m
Barry Townsley - £1m
Derek Tullett - £400,000

Total: £13,950,000

The list includes some interesting names.

Andrew Rosenfeld established the Minerva property group with Sir David Garrard in 1996. Rosenfeld stake is worth £49m. He has £30m in other assets. Garrard is also a major supplier of cash to Tony Blair. There is no evidence that they are socialists. However, they do depend on the government to give planning permission for their various property ventures. For example, in January the government gave permission for them to build Minerva Building, a 217-metre office tower in London. Just a coincidence of course, I am sure the reason they supported the government because they wanted Blair to increase the minimum wage.

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 07:15 PM

Tony Blair has just released the list of the businessmen who provided the loans.

Rod Aldridge - £1m
Richard Caring - £2m
Gordon Crawford - £500,000
Prof Sir Christopher Evans - £1m
Nigel Morris - £1m
Sir Gulam Noon - £250,000
Dr Chai Patel - £1.5m
Andrew Rosenfeld - £1m
Lord David Sainsbury - £2m
Barry Townsley - £1m
Derek Tullett - £400,000

Total: £13,950,000

The list includes some interesting names.

Andrew Rosenfeld established the Minerva property group with Sir David Garrard in 1996. Rosenfeld stake is worth £49m. He has £30m in other assets. Garrard is also a major supplier of cash to Tony Blair. There is no evidence that they are socialists. However, they do depend on the government to give planning permission for their various property ventures. For example, in January the government gave permission for them to build Minerva Building, a 217-metre office tower in London. Just a coincidence of course, I am sure the reason they supported the government because they wanted Blair to increase the minimum wage.

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 07:36 PM

Rod Aldridge is Chief Executive of Capita. He has been called the 'privatisation tycoon'. Capita has a 10-year, £400 million contract to run the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). This was the agency that failed to provide adequate security checks for staff working with children and the elderly. Capita also runs seven contracts out of the Darlington office that used to be the Teachers' Pension Bureau. Another contract given to Capita was the London Congestion Charging scheme. Aldridge has a £44m stake in the Capita Group. Other assets add £8m to his wealth. Aldridge's wealth is based on obtaining PFI contracts. However, he probably gives money to Blair because he supports Labour's war on poverty.

#5 Christopher T. George

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 09:30 PM

Hi John

Interesting information. I have a question for you, out of general interest and I hope I don't come off sounding smart-alecky in asking it. Are you against Blair more for his betrayal of the Socialist principles of the Labour Party (as with your illustration of Ramsay MacDonald) or for his business contacts? Or both?

All my best

Chris

#6 Robert Charles-Dunne

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 11:59 PM

Selecting who should be in the House of Lords gives tremendous power to the prime minister. It is also a source of income as Blair has been selling honours for the last nine years.



John:

Is it possible to find a list of peerages thus "sold" by Blair? And would we know if, in fact, that list was complete?

My reason for asking is something that has always troubled me about the elevation of Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, another media baron in the Beaverbrook tradition. A number of Canadians like Beaverbrook have been made Lords over the decades. However, when it became apparent that Black was about to be likewise honoured, the then-Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, denied Black the privilege by citing an obscure Canadian law that forbids citizens from accepting such honours. Few people, if any, could recall the last time that particular arcane law was enforced, leaving the distinct impression that Chretien was directing a petty and highly mean-spirited vendetta against Black. Given that Black had started a right wing national newspaper here, one that regularly excoriated the Liberal party Chretien government, it was viewed as just so much tit-for-tat.

Rather than forego the honours, Black renounced his Canadian citizenship [which may prove to have been an egregious error, depending on how his current legal woes play out Stateside.] This seemed a rather drastic step in order to accept a Lordship. Yes, Black has always been a shameless social climber, and yes, Black has always considered himself upper-crust, even while building his current empire upon the fleecing of a pair of elderly widows some decades ago. No doubt, he considered himself deserving of the ermine robes and other quaint affectations that came with the Lordship. But renouncing one's citizenship is a dramatic act.

I am wondering if Black paid Blair for the Lordship, and, having parted with good money in a subrosa deal, was determined to obtain his full money's worth, even if it meant relinquishing his Canadian passport. [If not a "cash" transaction, did Black's UK media holdings tilt noticeably toward Labour during Blair's tenure?] Any light you can shed on this would be appreciated.



#7 John Simkin

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 08:41 AM

Interesting information. I have a question for you, out of general interest and I hope I don't come off sounding smart-alecky in asking it. Are you against Blair more for his betrayal of the Socialist principles of the Labour Party (as with your illustration of Ramsay MacDonald) or for his business contacts? Or both?


Both. However, I consider corruption is the most important factor in this story. I believe if we had a truly democratic system we would now be living in a harmonious egalitarian society. The main reason that we do not have such a society is that the system has always allowed the rich to corrupt our politicians. The same thing has happened all over the world. The only way it is going to stop is if this corruption is fully exposed. The media is part of this corrupt system and is therefore reluctant to expose it (see my postings on Murdoch). The most dangerous aspect of this corrupt political system concerns the large profits made by the arms manufacturers. Not only does this corruption cause the deaths of millions of people, it poses a threat to the survival of the planet.

See:

http://educationforu...?showtopic=6116

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 10:55 AM

Most of the named businessmen are involved in property development. If I was an investigative journalist I would take a close look at recent planning applications involving these people: Richard Carling, Gordon Crawford, David Gerrard and Andrew Rosenfield. Lord Sainsbury is another who is very interested in planning permission when it involves his great rival Tesco.

Several of these characters are also involved in bidding for government contracts: Ron Aldridge, Gordon Crawford and Chai Patel. Sir Christopher Evans (biotechnology entrepreneur) has been having some legal problems and probably has been in need of some government help.

Barry Townsley has been very useful as a financial sponsor of Blairís city academy scheme.

I need to do more research into Nigel Morris (credit cards), Sir Gulam Noon (Indian food products) and Derek Tullett (stockbroker).

Not that I believe this is an accurate list. Lord Sainsbury denied he was on the list of secret donors when this story was first published in the newspapers. Was he lying then or now? Why would he give a commercial loan to the Labour Party? He has already given £6.5m since becoming science minister in 2001 (an expensive job to buy). I suspect he was telling the truth the first time and is now being used as a cover for someone who is linked to the arms industry.

Nor does the idea of commercial loans make any sense. Where is the Labour Party going to get the money to pay off these loans? The money has already been spent on the last election.

The real scandal is not about the Labour Party selling honours or government contracts. It is about individual members of this government taking money from these businessmen.

I have recently been studying the corrupt activities of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He used several methods of laundering corrupt money. His main strategy was to get his businessmen to pay money into his wifeís television station. This took the form of overcharged advertising payments. Mrs Blair does not own a television station. However, she does make ridiculous sums of money from the ďlecture circuitĒ. Is this how the Blairís do it?

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 12:43 PM

Some extra information on the secret list. Richard Aldridge, the chairman of Capita, has so far made over £1bn from government contracts.

Sir Christopher Evans, the head of a bioscience firm, is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Derek Tullett, is a director of an online betting exchange with an interest in government plans for super-casinos.

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 05:15 PM

John:

Is it possible to find a list of peerages thus "sold" by Blair? And would we know if, in fact, that list was complete?

My reason for asking is something that has always troubled me about the elevation of Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, another media baron in the Beaverbrook tradition. A number of Canadians like Beaverbrook have been made Lords over the decades. However, when it became apparent that Black was about to be likewise honoured, the then-Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, denied Black the privilege by citing an obscure Canadian law that forbids citizens from accepting such honours. Few people, if any, could recall the last time that particular arcane law was enforced, leaving the distinct impression that Chretien was directing a petty and highly mean-spirited vendetta against Black. Given that Black had started a right wing national newspaper here, one that regularly excoriated the Liberal party Chretien government, it was viewed as just so much tit-for-tat.

Rather than forego the honours, Black renounced his Canadian citizenship [which may prove to have been an egregious error, depending on how his current legal woes play out Stateside.] This seemed a rather drastic step in order to accept a Lordship. Yes, Black has always been a shameless social climber, and yes, Black has always considered himself upper-crust, even while building his current empire upon the fleecing of a pair of elderly widows some decades ago. No doubt, he considered himself deserving of the ermine robes and other quaint affectations that came with the Lordship. But renouncing one's citizenship is a dramatic act.

I am wondering if Black paid Blair for the Lordship, and, having parted with good money in a subrosa deal, was determined to obtain his full money's worth, even if it meant relinquishing his Canadian passport. [If not a "cash" transaction, did Black's UK media holdings tilt noticeably toward Labour during Blair's tenure?] Any light you can shed on this would be appreciated.


I actually worked for Conrad Black in the late 1990s. I was advising the Telegraph newspaper group on their internet strategy. I proposed a scheme where they would provide free educational materials for English speaking students all over the world. I even gave him a good promotion slogan: ďA millennium gift to the world.Ē I calculated that we could organize it for 2.6 million a year. I thought this was cheap considering the good will it would create. The Telegraph Board actually agreed the plan but Conrad Black overruled them. His thinking is quite interesting. His newspapers had spent many years criticizing the teaching profession. Black argued that teachers felt so hostile to the Telegraph they would never recommend their students to use the service. The real reason was probably that he was already having financial problems.

No, the Telegraph newspapers have never supported New Labour. However, Blairís policies are very close to those of Conrad Black. It would have probably damaged Blair if the Telegraph began supporting him during elections. It would then be clear to everyone just how right-wing Blair had become.

All political parties are allowed to nominate people for honours. That is why the Conservatives are unwilling to name those who have been giving them loans.

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 06:39 PM

I thought this posting on the web was funny:

MERGERS AND AQUISITIONS FEVER HITS WESTMINSTER

(from City correspondent Peter Pigeon)

The M&A fever that took the FTSE-100 index above 6000 last week is about to spread to Westminster. Rumours are circulating that private equity groups have built up significant stakes in both the Conservative and Labour Parties.

Now insiders suggest that these groups will seek to realise their investments (provided in the form of secret loans) and take control of the boards of each Party. They then propose to push through a merger.

City Analyst Vince Cable has told the BBC that Labour is suffering from negative equity - with assets of just nine million, and debts of more than eleven million.

The private equity groups are being advised by prominent City bankers Levy and Marland. Sources here told the SunGod "A deal like this makes good commercial sense. The two businesses have substantially the same objectives and there is massive overlap in their business operations. The merged company could realise significant synergies. Essentially we are looking at scrapping one London Headquarters and up to 600 high street branches."


http://sun-god.blogs...fever-hits.html

#12 John Simkin

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 06:58 PM

I would argue that Rod Aldridge and Capita are to Tony Blair what Herman Brown and Brown & Root (Halliburton) was to Lyndon Johnson.

Until Tony Blair came to power Capita was a little-known IT firm with a £112 million turnover relying heavily on contracts with local authorities. This included Brighton Council. The council leader, Steve Bassam, was given a peerage by Blair soon after he was elected in 1997. The following year Lord Bassam joined Capita as a consultant.

This was a shrewd move as Bassam introduced Aldridge to Blair. Aldridge, who went to school in Brighton, got on very well with Blair and soon began donating money to New Labour (he had been a supporter of the Conservative Party before 1997).

Over the last ten years Aldridge has won contracts to administer the following:

Supplying BBC licences (£500m)

Child Trusts Funds (£430m)

Criminal Records Bureau (£400m)

London Congestion Charge Scheme (£280m)

Department of Education Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (£177m)

Minersí Liability Claims (£145m)

Online Services for Department of Work and Pensions (£118m)

Connexions Discount Card (£100m)

BBC jobs in Northern Ireland (£100m)

Department of Work and Pensions Records Management (£70m)

Teachersí Pensions (£62m)

Individual Learning Account Scheme (£55m)

Department of Education Maintenance Allowance (£49m)

TFL Congestion Charge Scheme (£31m)

Driving Standards Agency (£22m)

Healthcare for Civil Servants (£12m)

Management Support for LEAs (£0.4m)

Recruitment for Customs and Excise (£0.3m)

Despite being fined for a string of high-profile blunders, Capita (nicknamed Crapita) has been chosen to provide virtually every public sector contract it bids for.

In return Aldridge has given £2m to support City Academies and given a £1m loan to New Labour (he is now demanding it back because he has not been given a peerage).

That is not bad for a man who has obtained £2.6bn in government contracts and has a personal fortune of £73m.

#13 John Simkin

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 11:03 AM

Just posted on the BBC website:

http://news.bbc.co.u...ics/4836024.stm

The chairman of outsourcing firm Capita has quit over "spurious" claims his £1m loan to the Labour Party resulted in the group getting government contracts.

Rod Aldridge, one of 12 donors who lent the party almost £14m in total before the last election, said he did "not want this misconception to continue".

The loan had been "my own decision as an individual, made in good faith".

Chancellor Gordon Brown told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the system had to be reformed to ensure "transparency".

He said people were free to give money to political parties "in good faith", in the same way as charities, if they "want to help the cause they believe in".

Tony Blair has denied accusations of nominating supporters for honours in returns for loans.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission is expected to finalise its guidelines on political loans at a meeting in London.

Mr Aldridge, who has run Capita since its foundation in 1984, said: "At present, the group's reputation is being questioned because of my personal decision to lend money to the Labour Party.

"As I have made clear, this was entirely my own decision as an individual, made in good faith as a long-standing supporter of the party.

"There have been suggestions that this loan has resulted in the group being awarded government contracts. This is entirely spurious.

"Whilst anyone who is associated with the public procurement process would understand that this view has no credibility, I do not want this misconception to continue, as I remain passionate about the group's wellbeing."

The Electoral Commission is expected to finalise its guidelines on political loans at a meeting in London.

These are expected to be introduced in the Electoral Administration Bill, which is currently going through parliament.

At prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Mr Blair said Labour had been "a little more open on the issue of loans" than the Tories, after it named 12 major lenders.

On Tuesday Scotland Yard said it was examining three complaints that Labour had breached the honours system - something it denies.

The investigation will focus on whether the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 was upheld and whether honours were given by Labour in return for loans or donations.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke had questioned the competence of Labour treasurer Jack Dromey, who claimed he and other elected party officials had not been told about £14m loans arranged by Mr Blair's chief fundraiser, Lord Levy.

That accusation prompted National Executive Committee chairman Sir Jeremy Beecham to say he did not think Mr Clarke had "read the situation correctly".

He said it was "absolutely clear that the reasons that NEC officers, including the elected party treasurer, did not know about the loans had nothing to do with any failings on their part".


#14 John Simkin

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 11:41 AM

Rod Aldridge states: "There have been suggestions that this loan has resulted in the group being awarded government contracts. This is entirely spurious. Whilst anyone who is associated with the public procurement process would understand that this view has no credibility, I do not want this misconception to continue, as I remain passionate about the group's wellbeing."

It seems the stockmarket does not agree with him. There has been a sharp drop in Capita's share price since Aldridge's loan has been made public. They are aware it will be much more difficult for Capita to bribe Blair in the future.

http://newsvote.bbc....28/intraday.stm

#15 John Simkin

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 08:27 AM

Although written by a former Tory MP I think this article by Matthew Parris in The Times gets close to explaining Tony Blair (18th March)

http://www.timesonli...2091566,00.html

I believe Tony Blair is an out-and-out rascal, terminally untrustworthy and close to being unhinged. I said from the start that there was something wrong in his head, and each passing year convinces me more strongly that this man is a pathological confidence-trickster. To the extent that he ever believes what he says, he is delusional. To the extent that he does not, he is an actor whose first invention ó himself ó has been his only interesting role.

Books could be written on which of Mr Blairís assertions were ever wholly sincere, which of his claimed philosophies are genuine, and how far he temporarily persuades himself that each passing passion is real. But deconstructing Mr Blairís mind is hopeless.

Suffice it to say that I used to believe that, at the moment of saying anything, our Prime Minister probably thought that what he said was true ó that there was no secret, internal wink. Today I have lost confidence even in that.

Small things as much as large have formed my view. What kind of a man would walk out of the Chamber as his former ally, Frank Field, rose to offer a patently heartfelt explanation of his reasons for standing down? Knowing what we do today about Mr Blair, would he still get the benefit of our doubt over the Bernie Ecclestone affair? What kind of a man would employ Alastair Campbell as his mouthpiece to history? What kind of a man would have given journalists on a plane to China the clear and false impression that he had had nothing to do with the outing of Dr David Kelly?

What kind of a man makes Silvio Berlusconi his friend and incurs a personal debt of gratitude to that bad, bad man? What kind of a Prime Minister neglects the courtesy and gratitude owed to his man in Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, quitting early after heart trouble? What kind of a man leaves friends as different as the late Roy Jenkins, Paddy Ashdown, and his own Chancellor privately despairing that they can ever rely on the Prime Ministerís word again?

And what kind of a man dispatches his ďpersonal envoy to the Middle EastĒ, Lord Levy, to drill vast sums of money from little-known tycoons with hopes of taking life peerages, and hushes it up? We may never discover what so discreet an operator as Lord Levy has said to these people but we know something they wanted from Tony Blair, and we know something Tony Blair wanted from them. Did more need to be said?

Another thing we know is that the Prime Minister recognised that if a gift were declared then the chain of events would be judged disgraceful. So the money was hidden: hidden even from his own party treasurer. Now his treasurer has blown the whistle, and his treasurerís wife, the Solicitor-General, has arranged a separation not from her husband, but from much of her ministerial portfolio. Love, then, is not dead; but if Ms Harmanís Chinese wall is appropriate now, why not when the PM appointed her? And if Mr Blair believes now that the funding of parties needs reform, why not earlier ó in his recent manifesto, for instance? You know why. He never meant to put matters right. He has been caught out.

The genius Mr Blair showed this week in extricating himself from this latest corner was breathtaking. If a burglar, caught red-handed, should by effrontery and oratory make from the dock so stirring a call for the fundamental reform of the Theft Acts that the whole court were distracted from the charge and persuaded to ďmove onĒ . . . then the tour de force would hardly be more impressive.

Our PM has the magicianís knack of drawing the eye away from the trick. Should a fraction of his talent for getting himself out of trouble be deployed in some wider national purpose, Britain would probably have conquered the universe by now. He reminds me of those schoolboys whose form masters report that if they devoted to their homework half the dedication they devote to getting out of doing it, they would be the envy of the school.

But he already is. Tony Blair has lived before. Dickens has recorded the life in David Copperfield. The character is Copperfieldís one-time school-friend and (until he betrays him) hero: the engaging, handsome and popular James Steerforth. Read the book.

It is occasionally reported that some poor woman falls in love with a professional fraud and remains his wife for years without realising what she has married. The British electorate are such a woman. Mr Blairís misdeeds are persistently overlooked, and his excuses credited. By the time we wake up he may have torn his party and its programme apart.

Close colleagues and Labour MPs mostly know already what he is. Forget the bleatings of the hard Left, the Tories and the likes of me: it is Tony Blairís political allies who should now act. They must accept that he is no longer an asset to the new Labour cause and that, if they do not cut him loose soon, he may drag a whole brave political project down with him. There is not much time to lose.




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