Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Blair Defence

This is what the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman has just been briefing about Blair's meeting with Inspector Knacker of the Yard...


"The prime minister explained why he nominated each of the individuals
and he did so as party leader in respect of the peerages reserved for party supporters as other party leaders do. The honours were not, therefore, for public service but expressly party peerages given for party service. In these circumstances that fact that they had supported the party financially could not conceivably be a barrier to their nomination."


Come again?! If that really is their main line of defence then they're on even weaker ground than I thought.

I rather like this quote from Professor Rodney Barker of the LSE which is on the BBC News website... "This cannot do his reputation any good, however unjustifiably. It will increase the perception of those who see him as not entirely straightforward or entirely trustworthy. It's one more straw on the back of a rather struggling camel.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT: Isn't it interesting that the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman, a civil servant, should be briefing the media on what he says is a Labour Party matter?

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

What on earth is a "party peerage"?

Anonymous said...

Am I just being ignorant, or weren't peerages specifically for public service, at least that was the public line?

Regardless of any financial support offered, the individuals were actually given the peerage for other reasons, such as rescuing dying kittens or what not.

Anonymous said...

Are these people mad? To admit that the only reason for receiving an honour is helping an organisation the sole purpose of which is to gain and hang on to power?

Party politics is the single greatest reason why the public has no confidence in politicians. This admission is unlikely to help much.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a straw on my back than a clarke, reid or blunkett!

Fit for purpose anyone?

Anonymous said...

Hang on....these are carefully chosen weasel words. The PMOS is saying that as they peerages were given for party service (??), financial support to the Labour party did not stop your peerage nomination. OK so if you give dosh to Labour and get a peerage in return it's OK because you were supporting Labour. But it's not OK as they are effectively admitting they have broken the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act? It also seems to ignore the fact that some of the honours were blocked by the reviewing committee precisely because the nominee had given money to Labour. I think this will run & run

Anonymous said...

Quite, Iain, they seem to be getting out of one hole in order to dig an only slightly shallower one next door. Strange business.

Anonymous said...

So they did get a peerage for a contribution to the Labour Party. Why has he not been charged?

Anonymous said...

this is more like it !

Anonymous said...

You see, the Tories would never hand out peerages just because someone had supported them financially. Time to hand over to David Cameron, Mr Blair.

Serf said...

it will increase the perception of those who see him as not entirely straightforward or entirely trustworthy.

As opposed to whom? Surely by now thats 100% of us.

Anonymous said...

He really is a shifty little git isn't he. But then so are all the past prime ministers who've behaved exactly the same way.

Anonymous said...

He has tried this line before - but I cannot remember when. As for them being "reserved", how can they be if the HoL committee that vets nominations can reject them? Obviously the peerages were bought for cash not for "service". This is different from the ex MPs or TU officials.

Anonymous said...

What's most annoying is having to put up with the arrogance displayed by Stephen Pound as he tours the media outlets defending Blair and his corrupt government. And to think Nadine Dorries could have skewered the smug so and so. A missed opportunity Nadine, if you don't mind me saying.

Nadine Dorries: Chatham House Rules Apply »

2br02b said...

Three thoughts:

(1) If people got peerages because "they had supported the party financially" but these were undeclaired or diguised donation rather than loans, TB is in the brown and sticky as deeply as ever, if not more so I suspect.

(2) Because he is PM, I'm pretty sure Scotland Yard would not interview under caution or arrest him until they were absolutely sure beyond doubt they had an open-and-shut case against him. If they did do anything like that and it did not go to conviction, it's the police who would look bad. So we are probably a long way from the end of TB helping the police with their enquiries.

(3) It may not be a legal requirement, but politically surely being interviewed by the police on a criminal matter ought to lead to TB's intant resignation?

i spy strangers said...

"Isn't it interesting that the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman, a civil servant, should be briefing the media on what he says is a Labour Party matter?"

Yes, it is. As is the fact that (according to the BBC) Blair was accompanied at the interview by a note-taker who was also a civil servant. Surely a paid Labour Party hack would have been more appropriate?

Anonymous said...

"Time to hand over to David Cameron, Mr Blair."

How much should he hand over and will it guarantee him a peerage?

Oh no, I've forgotten he can become Earl Blair of Rockall (along with Lady Cheroot) automatically anyway, thanks to his mentor Mags.

Beachhutman said...

Mad Tony has consistently rehearsed a line that there are "reserved places" in the Lords for Party Supporters. This has no basis in fact. The parties do have a right to nominate Lords - even for services rendered to them - but there are no "party seats" per se.If he is saying he gave these people seats in the lords for their financial support, he is admitting to the charges.

Indigo said...

As I read it, Blair is saying: I nominated these individuals for peerages because of their (non-monetary) services to the party; and that they had made financial gifts to the Party in the past or did so thereafter is neither here nor there: these are two parallel, never-intersecting paths.

Quite fancy footwork. I just hope that the two paths do intersect, in e-mails or whatever. They only have to do so once for Blair's adroit and deceitful "defence" to be blown out of the water.

verity said...

2bOr2b - I like your thinking.

machiavelli said...

The PMOS has repeatedly refused to answer questions that are really Government business on the grounds that they're party-political matters. Now he's answering questions about the role of the "leader of the Labour Party" in raising finances for the Labour Party.

Quite why am I paying his salary?

Anonymous said...

In the old days when there was this strange concept of responsibility, Balir would have followed Profumo into charity work to redeem his name these many years past. Taking the "Bernie" would have settled the hash of many better men than he.

New Labour - No Shame.

Anonymous said...

The best of it all is that TB and Levy could be liable for the repayment of any money to the donors and not the labour party the independent has a piece on how the loans were accepted ultra vires

This would be just as nice to see as TB actualy being forced to resign

Anonymous said...

Every party is on a sticky wicket here, why not concentrate on getting the fucker strung up for lying to parliament and starting an illegal war to boost sales of his memoirs?
That and fucking up the country, Get him for treason and war crimes not flogging baubles to boost the self esteem of vain buffoons.

Anonymous said...

Surely Knacker is smarter than Bliar. Given Bliars record of never telling the truth interviewing him under caution would mean that a later charge would need the CPS to effectively call the PM a liar in order to charge him. (Goldsmith overseen) His current informal chat with no lawyer (except himself) present can be conveniently changed or re-interpreted at a later date if things get ugly.


This way the report can recommend charges against lowly types and reserve the right to interview Bliar under caution at a later date.

Anonymous said...

Events of this week.

The Murdoch switch away from Gordon Brown.

Cameron's swing to the right.

Blair meeting the Police, and avoiding a caution.

'A week's a long time in politics'

Murdoch's switch has disempowered Brown. Blair must be feeling much relieved by it. Now he's dodged the worst of a police enquiry, Gordon Brown must be starting to feel nervous as to how the enquiry will affect his position.

Has the moment of greatest danger passed for Blair, as well as the period of greatest opportunity for Brown? where is Murdoch planning to bestow his media favours next?

Anonymous said...

Bliar also agreed with General Dannart, David Icke, sexed up intelligence, "our position on torture is clear" when asked about rendition.

He does believe because it MUST be true, he could never be wrong.

The man signing the recommendation to the queen can ONLY be not guilty if it was someone elses fault. The crime is so obvious its not remotely in doubt "i was asked to change my donation to a loan" is reasonably conclusive.

So they must have someone in the frame right? Charges will follow or they would not have intyerveiwed him at all surely? So is in teh firing line?


Levy takes a Berlesconi turn for the worse in January?

Anonymous said...

Surely this is just a case of looking at the longer term in giving money to a party?
If someone gives money four years in a row, gets an honour and never gives anything again then they were related. If they keep giving then they weren't.
Easy to find out the information and would definitely put some donors in the clear.

Slim Jim said...

Check out Adam Boulton's weblog on Sky News - I had to read this bit more than once. I quote:

'As Mr. Blair prepares his legacy these scrapes can only be enormously damaging to his reputation for integrity.'

Dearie me.

tonbridgeblog said...

I fear you are all clutching at straws here. He is going soon anyway you know, so all this seems to be about hoping that he will be forced to leave in disgrace. Peerages only exist for people to gain power and influence; without bribery there would be no peerages. The Labour Party are only doing what has been going on for centuries, maybe much longer, anyway. It's just in a new guise dressed up as loans. No party is whiter than white on this matter, so stop the baying for blood and just be patient. In any case the Conservatives are going to need a new leader in the long run other than Tory Boy Camoron (oh he of little substance!) So why the rush?...

tom_r said...

It has presented yet another opportunity for Cameron to set out a strong and constructive position on a key issue, but he doesn't seem to have taken it. How is he going to change the system? The same goes for party funding - what a wasted opportunity to change things for the better.

Anonymous said...

slim jim - were you really expecting the murdoch press to give him a no holds barred kicking ? He's probably hoping Bliar will let him take over ITV as a leaving present.

Where are the BBC-bashers now, after they made it the number one story on the Six O'Clock news - the only news most of the plebs ever come in contact with ???

verity said...

tom-r - Good thought!

Anonymous said...

Where has Iain disappeared to ?

Has his mum called him in for his tea?

Slim Jim said...

Anon 6:29 - no I didn't expect the Murdoch press to give Bliar a kicking, but I was overwhelmed with such sycophancy despite the fact that he is the most slippery, mendacious and downright dishonourable person ever to hold such high office. SIR Adam in the New Year's honours perhaps?

Actually, every cloud has a silver lining. The more he and his crew get away with, the more likely they are to lose votes. Ok, so I believe in Santa Claus...

Anonymous said...

slim jim - fair point, well made.

It is particularly disappointing as Mr Boulton used to plug the fact that Sky News had won awards for independence and impartiality.

But you have to remember that Adam's 'er indoors' is Tony Blair's 'oldest friend in politics, Anji Hunter.

And you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of your missus, now would you...oh - 'tis a small world...

Mark Senior said...

It is amusing to see the raised bloodpressures and apoplexy with some of the Conservative posters on here . Anyone using terms such as Bliar and wishfully thinking that he will be prosecuted conveniently forget the last Conservative government when lining ones own pockets corruption and giving peerages and the fruits of privatisation to wealthy supporters and was an everyday story of Tory rule .

james higham said...

From the word go he was in trouble on this one and his only chance was to keep postponing the inevitable denouement.

MorrisOx said...

Somebody put us out of Blair's misery...

Anonymous said...

'Party peerages'? You mean, as a reward for helping one or other bunch of sleazebags to gain or hang on to power by giving them money, the donors obtain the right to affect parliamentary legislation in their own interests and gain a title that will help them to con others into helping their business interests?

What an interesting version of democracy. Makes Russia and Sierra Leone look like Utopia.

Anonymous said...

I assume the loathsome Stephen Pound is as corrupt as he is grovellingly toadying. How about Iain you get up a collection, let's call it the Pound Float, and give it to him on the condition that he will not speak to the media for a whole year. I for one would be delighted to contribute.

griswold said...

Blair's defence will not work when evidence to the contrary emerges as it will. Yates has collected statements and computer records.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone could tell everyone what it actually said on the nomination forms for the individuals concerned

Were they either for services to education, community etc or where They "not, therefore, for public service but expressly party peerages given for party service"

If the latter, then he deserves to go

javelin said...

Ah, they are going for the collective defence. The corporate the defence. The were all guilty, but you can't finger one of them individually.

Tony is sacrificing the Labour Party - his spokesperson is saying the Party is corrupt but no ONE individual is.

2br02b said...

The next PMQ, unfortunately not now until the New Year, will be something to savour.

But that's just sport. Here the serious issue:

The criterion for selection of new members of the House of Lords appears to have evolved from being a reflection of the real power of local warlords of the Middle Ages; through consolation prizes for King Charles's bastards; a sort of retirement home for elderly generals and civil servants and MPs; a place packed (or threatened to be packed) with party hacks to force through a budget--Lloyd George's one, naturally; to a sort of market place where parliamentary votes, and thus direct power in the governance of this 'democracy' of ours are available to the highest bidder.

But that's all right because it's TB who says it's OK, and he's a 'pretty straight sort of guy', I'm sure we all agree. (That's 'straight' in the 'direct' sense of 'Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect £200'.)

I don't know if what TB has done or has said is criminal under the present law, but is certainly should be. Yet he may have unintentionally done us all a favour by laying open the utterly corrupt nature of a central component of the British (unwritten) constitution.

I do not see how it now is possible to 'rescue' the House of Lords. It should be abolished forthwith. However it is essential that we do not leave legislation in the sole hands of a bunch of whipped cannon-fodder in the House of Commons.

We need a new second chamber called, I propose, the 'Senate': no institute called the 'House of Lords' can really be taken seriously nowadays, especially after this. All Senators should be elected, I would suggest, for long fixed terms (12 years?) and barred from re-election, hence largely exempt from direct party pressure on how they vote.

The details are not the point for now; the principle is: The Lords cannot be saved, the Commons alone is not acceptable, the rest follows.

hatfield girl said...

The Times reports:
' No 10 told us that Mr Blair told the police that the peerages in question were awarded in his role as party leader not as Prime Minister. They're making the point that all political leaders can give peerages to their supporters and that giving money to a party should not be a reason to deny someone an honour. It seems No 10 wanted to clarify this because they see it as a vulnerable point in their argument that Mr Blair was acting properly .'

The Queen awards honours, on the advice of her prime minister; not on the advice of the leader of any political party. Blair cannot, literally cannot, have advised the Queen as a party leader, any more than could David Cameron or Menzies Campbell.

They are not all in this together, all the party leaders; there is one prime minister and it is in that capacity that he offers mandatory advice to the monarch on every honour, to whomsoever, of whatever party or none, that she awards.

Dr. Strabismus said...

One small point I didn't see mentioned above: it wasn't Yates but his deputy who conducted the interview. If this were to be the only interview of substance with our beloved PM, why would you send your deputy in to do it?

I can't prove it, and I don't have any secret sources, but it looks to me like a preliminary interview to flush out Blair's line of defence. It gives Yates time to prepare for this in any subsequent interview with the Dear Leader.

Nick Robinson's comments on his blog that no caution = no charge seem to me to be a wishfully rosy view of things. It may of course not happen, but there's nothing to prevent a second interview under caution.

verity said...

Yes, Dr. Strabismus, I think so. Not "under caution" was to smoke out Blair's defence, which was accomplished as Blair is not very smart.

I think there will be a second interview, under caution. I can't wait!

Once that possibility looms up, the Blairs will be in a real fix. Their inclination, given their characters, will be to do a bunk. OTOH, doing a bunk means, as fugitives from justice, they won't get into the US to give all those juicy after lunch and dinner speeches they've come to rely upon in their own minds as their future.

Of course, they could still get their books published, as though anyone, by then, would have the faintest interest in Blair's accounts of his meetings and discussions with world leaders.

They need the money, given the Tsarean lavishness of their lifestyle.

Shall we stay or shall we go?

My guess: they'll do a moonlight flit. Senors Chavez y Castro will, I am sure, have poolside cabanas at the ready.

The Remittance Man said...

Lordie, lordie, lordie! The Slimy Ones really are grasping at straws now. This is quite possibly the most dimwitted excuse I've ever heard. Either they are so desperate they are grasping at the slightest of straws or they genuinely don't understand the constitutional arrangements of the country.

Surely if such a thing as a "party peerage" existed (which I doubt) then the honour citations would read "for services to the Labour Party". To claim that the nominee was being put up for services to some other spurious cause would be fraud.

Anyone willing to bet that the various citations actualy did say something like "for services to the Labour Party"?. I've got a nice shiny One Rand coin for the first person to provide actual proof that this was so.

RM

ps "services to politics" doesn't count.

Voyager said...

A good old "Order of Lenin" should be enough for these property-developers looking at school playing fields and seeing executive homes.

Why can't Blair simply make them Companions of Tony and create an Order of Cherie's Garter

I have little respect for people with titles nowadays, they refuse to tell me how much they paid for them

Voyager said...

"Hero of Blairite Labour" = HOBL

Short for Hobbled

Anonymous said...

I feel sick

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Two unrelated points:

First: Why did Windmill Dave pass up the opportunity at PMQs on Wednesday to ask the Prime Minister about his engagements for the following day, Thursday? It was a pretty good bet, by then, that Thursday would be the day, and Blair would have been in a very uncomfortable corner.

Second: It now looks as if Blair and Levy may be running a "cut throat defence" i.e. each blaming the other. What larks!