Jump to content
The Education Forum

The Corruption of New Labour: Britain’s Watergate?


John Simkin
 Share

Recommended Posts

According to leaks from Scotland Yard the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will not be bringing charges against Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s former fundraiser, and Ruth Turner, the former director of government relations. The man who led the investigation, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, is furious about this but it seems the CPS is unwilling to prosecute members of the government. It seems they really are “above the law”. Another example of how we do not live in a democracy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 417
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

This article on the BBC website illustrates the legacy of Tony Blair and New Labour:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/your_money/6901147.stm

The gap between rich and poor in the UK is as wide as it has been for 40 years, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has said in a report.

The JRF found that households in already wealthy areas had become "disproportionately" richer compared to society as a whole.

But the number of "poor" households has risen over the past 15 years.

Since the 1980s, wealthier people have moved to the suburbs while the poor remain in inner cities, the JRF added.

Looking at wealth patterns over the past four decades, the JRF found that the gap between rich and poor actually narrowed in the 1970s.

But during the 1980s and 1990s inequality had increased as a "polarisation" in British society had occurred.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest David Guyatt

Quote:

According to leaks from Scotland Yard the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will not be bringing charges against Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s former fundraiser, and Ruth Turner, the former director of government relations. The man who led the investigation, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, is furious about this but it seems the CPS is unwilling to prosecute members of the government. It seems they really are “above the law”. Another example of how we do not live in a democracy.

Unquote

Disappointingly unsurprising, I think, John.

Having a fully politicised Crown Prosecution Service is a natural consequence of having a Judiciary who, sometimes, make stupid errors with the facts (like taking them into consideration) and then go and hand down the wrong verdict. Such wrong thinking cannot be permitted to continue unchallenged.

There was no way Bliar's reign was going to be allowed to be spoiled, as it wasn't "in the public interest" init? Tony already has his seat in heaven alloted to him awaiting the day he is duly sainted by Opus Dei.

And on the wealth gap, what else could be expected from someone who was to the right of Thatcher? This is the future -- that is to say, a reenactment of the past. Dickens would be pleased...

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Department of Justice in Washington has formally demanded that Britain hand over all evidence of secret payments that BAE made to members of the Saudi royal family to secure arms deals.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) spent £2m and more than two years amassing documents which showed BAE had transferred £1bn to Washington accounts controlled by Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, and another £1bn to Swiss bank accounts linked to agents acting for Saudi royals. The records include highly classified Ministry of Defence files detailing the government’s involvement in the arms deals. The SFO investigation of the BAE/Saudi arms deals was called off on the orders of Tony Blair late last year.

Lord Drayson, the arms sales minister dealing with this case, is himself someone who should be investigated for corruption. In 2004 the parliamentary ombudsman forced Tony Blair to disclose details of private meetings he has had with commercial lobbyists. This has resulted in the revelation that Blair had a private meeting with Paul Drayson on 6th December, 2001. Soon afterwards two things happened: (1) Drayson donated £100,000 to the Labour Party; (2) Drayson’s 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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest David Guyatt

Why is it I wonder, that I start to smoulder at Uncle formally demanding anything of us these days?

The Coroner in the blue on blue incident, formally "requested" Uncle to send its men to the court over here for questioning and got turned down flat. Meanwhile, Uncle merely has to point a finger at a Brit (guilt or innocence not determined) to have them cuffed and shipped off to the land of the free.

On the Bae material, who on earth trusts the DoJ with that sort of information. They'll only misuse it to their own advantage. To think that we've now got a Ministry of Justice...

Sadness galore.

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Liberal Democrat Lord Avebury requested details of the meetings between Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Blair refused to reveal this information on grounds of "national security". In other words the information would cause him embarrassment.

The day after Blair left office Gordon Brown gave permission for the Cabinet Office to release these documents. Blair met Murdoch three times in the days running up to the invasion of Iraq (11th, 13th and 19th March) that took place on 20th March.

Blair also talked to Murdoch at the same time that the Sun newspaper leaked details of the Hutton Report. These details gave the impression that Blair was completely cleared of manufacturing information on the need to invade Iraq.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest David Guyatt

Simon,

I enjoyed your piece in The Guardian about the bloody awful Campbell Diaries.

I also watched the series and was partly repulsed and partly fascinated by it. It was rather like watching one of those TV snake documentaries where you are riveted to your seat watching each twist of the beady-eyed serpent wondering what it will do next, but knowing deep down that it will be true to form and spit poison in your eyes.

Did you see him on Question Time a couple of months earlier, in the company the Welsh Houdini, Michael Howard? I usually like my garlic in my food rather than having to wear it around my neck, but Howard – presumably because his days of ambition are now past – was almost human and also entertaining for a change.

I particularly noted his exchange with Campbell where he openly called him a “xxxx” and repeated the accusation again a short while later. I had the impression that he was goading Campbell to force him launch a lawsuit, knowing that a lack of one would tarnish Campbell as much as engaging in one and losing.

I still haven’t the faintest idea what was behind this outburst of enjoyable anima. Any ideas?

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to leaks from Scotland Yard the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will not be bringing charges against Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s former fundraiser, and Ruth Turner, the former director of government relations. The man who led the investigation, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, is furious about this but it seems the CPS is unwilling to prosecute members of the government. It seems they really are “above the law”. Another example of how we do not live in a democracy.

Unfortunately my information was correct.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6908308.stm

Tony Blair has said he is "very pleased" that the cash-for-honours inquiry is over, saying those involved had been through a "traumatic time".

The former PM was responding to the decision not to bring any charges following a 16-month police inquiry.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates said the allegations had been serious and the way police had handled the inquiry had been "absolutely proper".

Mr Blair said the inquiry ended "as I always expected it would".

Police interviewed 136 people, including Mr Blair and former Tory leader Michael Howard, during the inquiry.

The investigation into claims that people were nominated for peerages in return for political loans was prompted by a complaint from the Scottish Nationalist MP Angus MacNeil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Gary Loughran
According to leaks from Scotland Yard the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will not be bringing charges against Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s former fundraiser, and Ruth Turner, the former director of government relations. The man who led the investigation, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, is furious about this but it seems the CPS is unwilling to prosecute members of the government. It seems they really are “above the law”. Another example of how we do not live in a democracy.

Unfortunately my information was correct.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6908308.stm

Tony Blair has said he is "very pleased" that the cash-for-honours inquiry is over, saying those involved had been through a "traumatic time".

The former PM was responding to the decision not to bring any charges following a 16-month police inquiry.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates said the allegations had been serious and the way police had handled the inquiry had been "absolutely proper".

Mr Blair said the inquiry ended "as I always expected it would".

Police interviewed 136 people, including Mr Blair and former Tory leader Michael Howard, during the inquiry.

The investigation into claims that people were nominated for peerages in return for political loans was prompted by a complaint from the Scottish Nationalist MP Angus MacNeil.

The official CPS line was 'not enough evidence to prosecute' - not quite the same as proven innocence of wrongdoing but close enough for the corrupt to walk free.

Was it ever in doubt though?

Considering what he has been put through with less evidence, Galloway was particularly scathing, as well as highlighting the BAE affair.

It's a lonely trough to furrow - the road of truth and justice - and it's made even harder when the few who walk this road are seen and painted as some kind of dangerous revolutionaries upsetting the apple cart and dodging the metaphorical bullets fired in their direction. If the efforts which are exhausted to condemn and tarnish the reputations of the good were directed at the real transgressors and with the same unilateral bile, the world would be a better place.

I am not holding my breath!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The official CPS line was 'not enough evidence to prosecute' - not quite the same as proven innocence of wrongdoing but close enough for the corrupt to walk free.

As one unnamed Labour MP said yesterday: "It was always going to be hard - if you actually read the 1925 Honours Act, it's difficult to get anyone unless you actually catch them handing the money over." In fact, it is even more difficult than that, you have to have a record of them saying that I am giving you this money in exchange for an honour."

However, it is easier to prove a conspiracy charge. That is why the police believed the CPS would bring charges against Lord Levy as they found documents showing that he had asked Ruth Turner to lie about his actions.

Of course no one is really daft enough to believe that these multimillionaires gave money to the Labour Party because they supported socialism. In fact, in the 1980s they had been donors to the Conservative Party. What they wanted was influence over a government’s decisions. This included the desire for honours, but more importantly, they wanted tax regulations that ensured they paid little or no tax, privatization, PFI contracts, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Understandably, the police have been leaking the evidence that they had on the “Loans for Honours” scandal. Some of this evidence has not been made public before.

(1) A draft honours list, drawn up in September 2005, showed that out of the 12 businessmen who provided Blair with undeclared loans, eight were put forward for peerages: Sir Christopher Evans, Rod Aldridge, Andrew Rosenfeld, Sir David Garrard, Barry Townsley, Chai Patel and Sir Gulum Noon.

(2) During the summer of 2005, Lord Levy, Blair’s chief fundraiser, was involved in a series of meetings held at Downing Street to discuss the forthcoming honours list.

(3) At least one of the providers of money to the Labour Party, Sir Gulum Noon, admitted that he was told that it had to be in the form of a loan rather than a donation.

(4) The £14m of loans provided by these businessmen were kept secret from senior Labour Party officials, including the treasurer.

(5) A document addressed to Jonathan Powell, No 10’s chief of staff, revealed that Lord Levy asked Ruth Turner to “lie for him” over the “Loans for Honours” scandal.

(6) The diary of Sir Christopher Evans, one of the businessmen who provided loans to the Labour Party, contained numerous references to discussions and meetings about honours with Lord Levy. This included promises of a peerage.

The Crown Prosecution Service originally agreed that the evidence was good enough to bring charges against Levy, Evans and Turner.

However, before the CPS proceeded with the case they sought legal advice from David Perry QC. Perry has a long record of providing legal advice to Tony Blair, including the invasion of Iraq. Perry advised against a prosecution. He argued that some of the documents, including Evans’ diary and the Turner memo, might be ruled inadmissible in court because they were merely “hearsay” because the alleged meetings, discussions and comments were disputed by Levy. The CPS took Perry’s advice and dropped the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Gary Loughran
Understandably, the police have been leaking the evidence that they had on the “Loans for Honours” scandal. Some of this evidence has not been made public before.

(1) A draft honours list, drawn up in September 2005, showed that out of the 12 businessmen who provided Blair with undeclared loans, eight were put forward for peerages: Sir Christopher Evans, Rod Aldridge, Andrew Rosenfeld, Sir David Garrard, Barry Townsley, Chai Patel and Sir Gulum Noon.

(2) During the summer of 2005, Lord Levy, Blair’s chief fundraiser, was involved in a series of meetings held at Downing Street to discuss the forthcoming honours list.

(3) At least one of the providers of money to the Labour Party, Sir Gulum Noon, admitted that he was told that it had to be in the form of a loan rather than a donation.

(4) The £14m of loans provided by these businessmen were kept secret from senior Labour Party officials, including the treasurer.

(5) A document addressed to Jonathan Powell, No 10’s chief of staff, revealed that Lord Levy asked Ruth Turner to “lie for him” over the “Loans for Honours” scandal.

(6) The diary of Sir Christopher Evans, one of the businessmen who provided loans to the Labour Party, contained numerous references to discussions and meetings about honours with Lord Levy. This included promises of a peerage.

The Crown Prosecution Service originally agreed that the evidence was good enough to bring charges against Levy, Evans and Turner.

However, before the CPS proceeded with the case they sought legal advice from David Perry QC. Perry has a long record of providing legal advice to Tony Blair, including the invasion of Iraq. Perry advised against a prosecution. He argued that some of the documents, including Evans’ diary and the Turner memo, might be ruled inadmissible in court because they were merely “hearsay” because the alleged meetings, discussions and comments were disputed by Levy. The CPS took Perry’s advice and dropped the case.

Is this the end of the matter, in your opinion? Timed nicely to allow Blair to take up his envoy role over the last few days without a nasty dark cloud over him.

The criticism of the police in some quarters, will lead to more revelations I'm sure. They [the police] seem eager to let the public know that they conducted their investigation in good faith and with good grounds/evidence.

There should be a few more tidbits soon, I'd imagine, with perhaps something held back for a defence against potential counter attacks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Great article by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian. Irt is also well worth reading the comments that followed the article.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2142924,00.html

It's now five years since Alastair Campbell started to sex up the intelligence that would be used to justify the invasion of Iraq (if he dislikes Andrew Gilligan's perfectly adequate colloquialism, he can have "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," the words of Tony Blair's security adviser Matthew Ryecroft in the secret July 2002 Downing Street memo), and almost four years since he finally left Blair's employ. After the hideous catastrophe that has ensued you might think that a man bearing Campbell's burden of guilt would have changed his name and gone to live in Ecuador. Alas Alastair is still with us, as you may have noticed.

His diaries are selling briskly (even though they are not only utterly dispiriting but patently unreliable), after the BBC, which Campbell nearly destroyed, allowed the author of the dodgy dossier to have several days' free television time to promote his dodgy diaries. And now he is back in print again, with columns in both the Observer and the New York Times on Sunday, both pieces risible if in different ways, both of interest only if, like the diaries, they are taken with a pinch of salt and read between the lines.

If it's true that, as he says in the Observer, the one question he was asked more than any other while flogging his book in the US was "how did Tony Blair, who got on so well with President Clinton, also get on so well with President Bush?" then it doesn't say much for the US media. Did no one really ask how and why he had manufactured the fake intelligence, or for that matter whether he had any regrets about collecting a reputed £1.5m advance when his hands were dripping with blood?

Did they not even ask whether he was aware of the enormous damage his book had inflicted on any reputation "TB" still possesses? But then Alas Alastair is right when he says that "while Bush seems to attract near-vilification in the US over Iraq, the tone of criticism of Mr Blair is muted". It really is time Americans stopped giving Blair the benefit of the doubt and grasped that he comes out of Iraq not better than Bush but much worse. It's just possible that the Campbell diaries may help to have that effect.

The New York Times piece appears under the wondrous headline "Don't be afraid of Rupert Murdoch". Campbell's unique brand of unconscious irony has always been enjoyable. It might be a sports column in which he mentions in passing an exchange with Clinton, to whom Campbell said fawningly what a privilege it had been to work with "the greatest all-round political communicator of the late 20th century", eliciting the reply "that it had been a pleasure working with the best communications adviser in the world". What a pair of lads, to be sure!

Or it might be the hilarious passages that crop up intermittently in his gruesome diaries. There's a fine example in January 2001, when Peter Mandelson was ejected from the cabinet, stitched up and hung out to dry because Campbell thought he needed to propitiate the media. That injustice was perceived at the time by the Guardian's Hugo Young, who had no great love for Mandelson, and by another journalist also. "I was appalled at Robert Harris going on TV effectively saying I had pushed him out," snorts Campbell, after three pages in which he has described doing just that.

What Campbell says about Murdoch is again exquisite in its unconsciousness. Would Tony Blair have lost the 1997 election "if the Sun had stayed with the Tories?" he writes, and answers, "I don't think so". He is quite right, in my view, but he doesn't begin to see the implications of that. From the start, Blair was always the suitor, cap in hand as he begged Murdoch's favour in a manner both humiliating and quite unnecessary.

Their relationship became much more intimate than almost any of us realised, with Murdoch what Lance Price (a sometime spin paramedic in Campbell's Downing Street team) called the invisible 24th member of the Blair cabinet. We have only just learned about the series of telephone calls between Blair and Murdoch just before the invasion of Iraq, when Blair was much more concerned about the opinion, and support, of the media magnate than of any member of his own government.

But then that intimacy lasted all the way from when Blair became Labour leader and forthwith took himself off to Australia to address Murdoch and his minions, to the summer of 2004 when the prime minister's absurd volte face over a referendum on the European constitution was without question part of a deal with Murdoch, to last summer when Blair went to speak to yet another News Corp gathering while Lebanon bled. All of this was of course part of the ritual humiliation and moral evisceration of the Labour party which is Blair's true legacy, but it was otherwise as disastrous as it was needless.

In 1996 Blair was in an immensely strong position. He was going to win the election easily, with or without the support of the Murdoch press, and he could have borrowed the lines which Baldwin had himself borrowed from Kipling, his cousin, and denounced Murdoch and the other press owners for exercising power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot. In 1930 those words broke the thrall of Beaverbrook and Rothermere, who never again dictated policy, and Blair could have done the same if he had chosen; but he didn't.

Towards the end of the New York Times piece appear just about the most unintentionally comical, and revealing, words even Campbell has ever written. If politicians are intimidated by Murdoch, "that is their problem. If they make the wrong calls out of fear of his editorial wrath, they shouldn't have been elected in the first place." Alas Alastair, that's absolutely right. And do you really not know who you're describing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great article by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian. It is also well worth reading the comments that followed the article.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2142924,00.html

Seconded: and faced by an equally fine piece - by Simon Jenkins - on the British foreign policy elite's moronic consensus with regard to Afghanistan. Care to do the honours, John?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...