Sunday, March 04, 2007
I would normally leave this sort of thing to Guidale, but Gordon has asked for my thoughts on cash for peerages, so here goes. With the Attorney General's injunction, it becomes clear that charges may well be imminent. I am inclined to agree with Guidale's suggestion that the leak that led to the injunction came from Downing Street. He says this is because, having accepted the evidence against them is so strong, the staffer(s) at Number Ten want to portray themselves as victims. In fact, I suspect it is more likely they want fatally to prejudice the case; the police saw this coming, pinned the AG against a wall and obliged him to thwart his boss's plans. Either way, it seems the crime here is not selling peerages - a very difficult charge to nail and, anyway, so what? - but the cover-up that ensued. So the big picture is this: Blair does a few dodgy but unremarkable deals with rich donors. This is exposed and a police investigation launched. All of which would have fizzled out but for the fact that Downing Street is so obsessed with news and image management that it rushed to cover up the dodgies, an unnecessary move, but, as the scorpion said to the frog, 'it is in my nature'. This lands them in worse trouble by giving the police a real crime - interfering with the course of justice - to investigate. Unable to learn from their mistakes, Blair's people then continue to meddle by leaking against themselves to the BBC, a move which, once again, makes things worse. The spinners have spun themselves into a dizzy, incompetent stupor. But they are scorpions, it is in their nature. They are too dizzy to remember, if they ever knew, that the scorpion drowns along with the frog.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:57 am