Wednesday, March 07, 2007
'But doesn't this whole story,' writes Iain Dale, 'illustrate just how rotten to the core this sleazy administration is?' Well, er, maybe, but surely a gigantic pachyderm in the portico is being overlooked here. Assuming this Ruth Turner-Levy document is all that there is to the cash-peerages-cover-up yarn - a large assumption, I know, but it seems to be correct at this point - then the story is stone dead. For some time, it has been apparent that paying for peerages, sleazy as it may be, has receded into the background and the cover-up has been the primary issue. But now the evidence of the cover-up appears to be no more than an account of a meeting, unwitnessed by any third party, which, at most, suggests that Levy was little more than boastful and loose-tongued. The whole episode has been distasteful, but, at this point, does not appear to have been much of a story. I can see two interpretations of what has happened here: 1)a press beat-up and the subsequent Downing Street reaction has over-inflated some routine government nastiness or 2)the nastiness has been more than routine and Blair's people have successfully outwitted the police, press and polBloggers. The cost to them has been the corpse of Levy, but that, by now, must be more or less valueless. There is no story and all that remains is hot air. But then modern politics is always about nothing. John Reid, for example, today managed to lead the BBC news with a scheme to text foreigner visitors telling them when their visa is about to expire. In what kind of depraved civic realm does such footling nonsense come to be regarded by our 'flagship' broadcaster as worthy of any attention at all? In which context, the death of Jean Baudrillard feels significant. He was right, we live in a hyper-real landscape of fantasy. But we must resist these airy seductions, otherwise, as my esteemed commenter CaptainB puts it, 'these people would fear nothing.'
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:15 am