Monday, February 27, 2006

Tessa Jowell: What's the Big Deal?

I'm not quite sure I can see where this Tessa Jowell stuff is heading. OK, she signed a mortage loan application form, but from the information given in the Sunday press I don't really see this as the smoking gun. To me this just doesn't have the whiff of scandal that one has been able to smell so easily in previous Labour (or, for that matter, Tory or LibDem) sleaze scandals. I may well be proved wrong, but I hope not. The wider body politic can do without yet another scandal.

UPDATE: 23.40pm Sky are reporting that Tessa Jowell and her husband have 9 mortgages on their two houses. Nine! No crime in that, but the Oonagh Blackman, political editor of the Mirror, who is reviewing the papers on Sky, clearly smells blood.

8 comments:

stalin's gran said...

Well, if - and I say if - there is any question of money-laundering, then it would be a big deal, dontcha think?

Bulldog said...

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/martin_rowson/2006/02/27/rowson512.jpg

jafo said...

I also think that any question of money laundering is a very big deal indeed - and the "explanations" so far tendered sound - how can I put this nicely - unconvincing...............

Iain Dale said...

Yes, but if that is the case I cannot conceive that a) she would know about it and b) her signature on a mortgage application form is proof that she was 'in' on it, whatever it was. Believe me, I'd happily see any Labour minister resign, but I just don't see that this mortgage document proves anything, apart from she believed her husband's explanation, wahtever that was.

jafo said...

I'm no expert on the "Ministerial Code" (is it connected with the Da Vinci Code - will it be a bestseller?) but has it not been said by Political Persons that the financial affairs of a Minister's partner are their own business when quite separate from that of the Minister? But surely the point here is that it doesn't sound as if these financial affairs are separate, does it.

Call me cynical, but whereas believing one's husband is laudable and indeed, desirable, I think most wives would want to know how the mortgage was going to be paid off, should hubby suggest borrowing £400,000 against their home in order to invest the money elsewhere. After all, we aren't talking about a "little woman" who doesn't even know how to write a cheque, are we? Or perhaps we are - wasn't she the Minister who appeared to think having a casino in every town would be a force for good?

Mike Ion said...

You have got to stop being so thoughtful, rational and decent - you well end up giving Tories a good name! Seriously, I am with you Ian - this is a non-story about possible incompetence (on her husband's behalf) but not misconduct.

jafo said...

Non-story? Mysterious £350,000 moved through 6 (or perhaps 7) different offshore accounts before being used to pay off said mortgage 19 days after it was taken out?
Confessions of wrong-doing made to Italian prosecutors?
Strange letters written to accountants?
5 or 9 (depends which newspaper you read) mortgages taken out on their homes?

Perhaps I've led a sheltered life but I don't know anyone whose financial affairs are quite so - unusual.

Think one must agree this is definitely a story, Mike!

Aidan said...

Certainly a story as far as her husband's concerned, albeit waiting to see what the Italian judiciary's decisions will be...
But, I dunno, it does seem to be straining a little for some to try so quickly to turn into a potential resignation matter for Jowell, and the vague 'sniff' seemed to be more than enough to have Theresa May opportunistically, and I suppose understandably, disingenuously suggesting an official inquiry to ostensibly clarify matters but really to cling ever closer into common acceptance that sense of 'must-be-dodgy'-ness... ;)