Friday, April 20, 2007

Goldsmith Should Stand Aside from Cash for Honours Decision

Very few political journalists write blogs worth reading. Ben Brogan, political editor of the Daily Mail, is an exception. In his blog today he reports that the CPS have received a recommendation from the Met to charge three people in relation to the Cash for Honours Inquiry. Well, he's nailed his colours well and truly to the mast. There's not a lot one can add to this apart from to express the hope that the CPS do their work quickly. I see no reason why it need take them very long to assess what the Met have given them. Blair will hope that it drags out until he has left office, but I can't see why it should take longer than a few weeks for a decision to be made.

It is appalling that the final decision may be taken by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith. Not many people know that Goldsmith was a donor to New Labour before he was granted his peerage by.... you guessed it, Tony Blair, the man on whom he will now sit in judgement. He should stand aside and allow the decision to be made by the CPS without any reference to him at all. If he makes a decision that pursuing this case is not conducive to the public interest I very much hope that the Great British Public won't stand for it.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Second-hand = second-rate.

big john said...

Anonymous said
Second-hand = second-rate

It was Blair's government that wrote the laws allowing hearsay into evidence.

I agree with Iain, expediency and transparency is essential if it is not to be seen as a whitewash.

Anonymous said...

Totally and utterly agree 100% - it is a travesty that this guy, who fell into line with the advice on the war in Iraq and the decision to drop the BAe fraud investigation could be the one who decides whether charges are brought.

Whatever your views on Iraq and BAe, he is just not able to be perceived as above suspicion of undue influence on this process. He MUST be MADE to stand aside for this.

But Iain I think you are being very prescient when you talk about the timescale. They will just want to drag this out until he has already signed off. The media must bring as much pressure as possible to bear on this by keeping the spotlight on it every single day.

Anonymous said...

Go and have a look at the posting from Anon 11:57 on the Friday Caption Competition on Guidos blog to see where all this irrational hatred ends up.

Would it be too much to ask for the hate filled idiots that frequent Iain's and Guido's blog to get some sort of grip on reality?

Laurence Boyce said...

It’s not hard to understand why this story arouses such levels of interest; the (highly unlikely) prospect of Tony Blair being led off in hand cuffs is just too delicious for words. But the truth is that influence has been bought in the upper house for decades. It’s hardly much better if it occurs indirectly. You give me some money, I give you a peerage, but there was no prior agreement, so that’s all right then. What really matters is that we put a stop to this once and for all.

wrinkled weasel said...

It looks bad..here is a Jewish, high profile Labour supporter turned peer with influence over the fate of similar.

Sadly he also has form when it comes to being nobbled by Blair.

If Goldsmith can be pursuaded to alter his views on such an important issue as the legality of war, then this affair won't pose much of a moral dilemma, will it?

He is also vulnerable to pressure because he is indiscreet in the trouser area, having taken silk in more ways than one.

big john said...

Perhaps consistent and persistent pressure from both blogs and the MSM on Goldsmith to stand aside, conflict of interest etc should be rallied.

Then and only then will we feel that a reasonable decision is arrived at when the CPS finally announce their deliberations.

Anonymous said...

Why does this Goldsmith situation seem strangely normal after ten years of Blair?Everybody should be outraged by this,but I think we must be getting used to living in an ersatz banana republic.

big john said...

anonymous said
Why does this Goldsmith situation seem strangely normal.

a feeling of normality perhaps, but still no reason why we should accept it.

Its wrong, its immoral, and I'm unsure as to whether it's illegal or not.

Anonymous said...

"Why does this Goldsmith situation seem strangely normal after ten years of Blair?"

Soooo true ...

Chatterbox said...

Lord Goldsmith's decision not to withdraw completely from any involvement in the CPS decision was incredible.
Any judge or lawyer who did not declare a interest in a case they were involved in and did not immediately withdrew from, would be harshly condemned and punished. One rule for this government another for the rest of us!

verity said...

Funny, so many anonymouse's and new identities suddenly posting around here. Had anyone noticed "Big John" before today?

Things seem to be getting more defensive from the communist point of view.

I've just been watching Fawlty Towers (having been sent a click that sends you to any TV comedy) and thinking the corpse in the bedroom is absolutely bang on for this episode of T Blair's government.

They keep wheeling him around in laundry baskets because actually, he's dead, but they have to pretend to the gathered people in the lobby that he's fine.

And that man - Geoffrey Palmer? - who says, "I'm a doctor and I want sausages" [had we had a real leader demanding sausages, like David Davis, for example, that would have worked] so they all rally around cooking sausages, while trying to wheel the laundry basket with the corpse in it out to the laundry van ... it's such an analogy ... it's rather striking.

The corpse disguised as laundry ... Tony Blair ... whiter than white.

David Cameron as the maid wheeling the laundry basket around and twittering about.

Casual Observer said...

Goldsmith has no backbone and will do exactly what the dreadful Bliar tells him to do and without question. What's the difference between Bliar's UK and a banana republic? Not a lot...

Ratty. said...

The Director of Public Prosecutions insists that his office — not the Attorney-General — will make the final decision on whether to bring charges over cash-for-peerages.

Sir Ken Macdonald, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, said that Lord Goldsmith was “entitled to be consulted if he wants to be”.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1572748.ece

Praguetory said...

Thanks for the provocation. Linked

failed bond trader said...

anon 12.08

I agree, it is up to people who care to do something about this, I am up for it. What can we realistically do though? We KNOW it is very wrong for him to be involved and it must be stopped.

Iain and Guido, regardless of their longer term personal goals, have a voice that most of us do not have. They have access to MSM and I feel make a difference. It is incumbent on them to make as much fuss as possible about this and I am willing to help in any way. Lets come up with some ideas the obvious ones are;

Blogger adverts, across everyone who reads and supports the free speech/blog ideal

put these adverts in MSM, i would make a donation to help make this possible

Guido does a deal with newsnight, in exchange for another appearance he gets time to state to the case against goldsmith

Iain has access to Telegraph/Guardian etc

Perceived injustice and corruption will affect the NEXT PM and the one after if this is seen as a whitewash, surely Cameron should realise that and step into the debate personally. All non-NuLab supporters must be galvanised.

What about somekind of ballot paper spoiling at the may elections? Labour will be devastated anyway so why not a concerted effort to 'spoil' papers as a protest. It will get national coverage if the exit polls are forced to comment on everyone comes out saying "i spolied because of Goldsmith" and its gteed to make the MSM and contaminates the atmosphere post-bliar?

I dont know what the answer is but for me this is one of the most important issues we face, politics is in danger of collapse in this country and this is a shameful situation.

Any other ideas?

judith said...

Yes, can you imagine the BBC transmitting hundreds of interviews with Joe Public, all saying 'I spoilt my ballot paper because of Goldsmith'?

At the count, spoiled ballot papers simply get swept into a separate heap, and no-one reads them or analyses them - I always find it touching that some voters are innocent enough to think it is a way of registering a protest.

Touching - but useless.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Anon 12:21 AM:

"Would it be too much to ask for the hate filled idiots that frequent Iain's and Guido's blog to get some sort of grip on reality?"

Which is what, exactly? This whole charade is complete Alice in Wonderland - or maybe Kafka.

Goldsmith is a ghastly unprincipled little man. He's has always operated by what he regards as 'legal' rather than what most would consider 'moral'. He's not going to change that stance at all. Worse, we can certainly expect direct and indirect interference by him in this matter. The trouble is that if he does not do so the whole edifice of ten years of lies and distortions will collapse, so he is obliged to 'influence' the outcomes.

In fact it's almost certain that Goldsmith has already done so. After all, he's hardly going to sit on his hands whilst waiting for Yates and his Report to arrive.

These people are immoral mendacious scum. Sadly, there are not enough lamp-posts in and around Westminster to enable us to deal with them all. Maybe we'll just have to reinstate Tyburn Green.

Fair trial? Justice? I don't think so. Since when was that ever part of Goldmith's thinking?

Anonymous said...

Spolit ballot papers are all seen and read by Election Agents. The writing on these have caused much hilarity in the past.

My favourite is the ballot paper that had the word C@@@ against one of the candidates. His Agent complained that the ballot paper could be identified, but the returning officer declared it valid saying that that "the voters intention was more than clear"

Chris said...

>Goldsmith is a ghastly unprincipled little man. He's has always operated by what he regards as 'legal' rather than what most would consider 'moral'.

Well, that's a relief, as Thomas More points out in 'A Man for All Seasons':

MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?
ROPER: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE: Oh? . . . And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you-where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? . . . This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast-man’s laws, not God’s-and if you cut them down . . . d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? . . . Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

And Iain, how do you know that Goldsmith is going to have to sit in judgement on Tony Blair? You know that the Met have recommended he be charged with something? Some scoop, there. Or are you just over-excited?

javelin said...

From todays Times (below).

The Labour Party has £23M of debt and donations of £2.6M. They should be bankrupt. (1) Who are their debtors?, (2) why are none of their debtors demanding their money? and (3) what would happen if they did?

Peerages row drains Labour’s coffers

[Labour] Donations fell from £3.2 million in the third quarter to £2.6 million in the last, and the party owes more than £23 million. The Conservatives owed even more — £35 million — on December 31. But they have recently sold their Smith Square headquarters for £30.5 million, and received £5 million in the last quarter. According to Electoral Commission figures, Labour attracted £2.64 million and the Lib Dems £2.32 million.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

It may be (I don't know, because I haven't studied the legislation) that the consent of the Attorney-General is a pre-requisite to certain prosecutions and that, as a matter of law, his decision to give or withhold consent cannot be delegated.

If not, a refusal to recuse himself would certainly justify an application for judicial review. (It was a judicial review which overturned Lord Hoffman's decision to sit in the House of Lords in the Pinochet case.)

In any case, the Attorney-General does not have a general discretion to block any prosecution of which he disapproves and, unless I am mistaken, his consent is NOT required to proceed with charges of false accounting or perverting the course of justice.

Chuck Unsworth said...

chris: 'Well thats etc, etc'

I really don't think a quotatation from a 1950's radio play by Robert Bolt (a notable philosopher?) has sufficient intellectual rigour.

That debate is about whether the Law is subservient to Morality, or the reverse.

There are some who recognise the Law as being of secondary importance, and that decency, honour, honesty and real moral integrity should take precedence.

Goldsmith is simply not one of them. I'm not aware that he will be required to sit in judgement, but maybe you have privileged insights. As I understand it Goldsmith may be inviolved in a decision about the potential prosecution of three - as yet not formally charged - individuals who are very closely associated with Blair. It may be, of course, that one or all of them choose to implicate their boss, but who knows?

Nonetheless, Blair and Goldsmith both seem perfectly content with their positions despite prolonged public outcry. Presumably they know that they have the moral ascendancy - or no conscience.

Anonymous said...

Well said, failed bond trader.
It's easy for Iain to say the 'public' shouldn't stand for Goldsmith's involvement, but how are we to express outrage at this government's criminality?
The best way surely is to get Blair and Goldsmith tried in the Hague for crimes against peace per the Nuremberg Charter of the International Military Tribunal, of August 8, 1945, which is now the law of Britain, and specifically under ARTICLE 6;
"The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:
(a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
ARTICLE 7
The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment."
I would like someone, anybody, to start a fund to pursue Blair until he is charged.

Anonymous said...

The CPS have been closely involved with this inquiry from day 1. They would have been advising the investigation team and therefore are aware of the evidence at hand. If charges are brought against Levy I suspect that the whole house will come down. Levy will not stand as the 'Scapegoat.' I am not so sure about Turner, she is a different animal. Goldsmith is going to want to distance himself from the whole sordid affair.

Anonymous said...

Levy must now be classified as a flight risk so is his passport going to be confiscated? If he gets to Israel the regime won't extradite him back for trial ("trumped up political charges"), Levy won't stand trial and then will not finger Tony. Of course Ruthie being a woman will get a mild ticking off.

So if Brown wants his revenge on Tony he should get hold of Levy's passport now!

Anonymous said...

The CPS can hardly decide to do nothing - there would be too much of an outcry.

But they could easily decide there was insufficient evidence on the question of cash-for-honours.

Charges of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice would make it look like they were being tough. But it would leave TB well out of it.

Schoolboy-Error said...

Judge a tree by its fruits.It made me laugh (in a dry,hollow sort of way)when Nick Robinson in reply to a charge of self-serving symbiosis with politicians.Claimed that 'how else were journalists to convey what a politician was thinking apart from having a relationship with them.'(paraphrased).How many people with whom you have a business relationship tell you exactly what they are thinking?The whole political/media interface is manipulated shamelessly.There's a need for more resources that make people more aware of how they are being manipulated on a day to day basis.I'm hoping that as more powerful programs like newsniffer come along and can be run on a simple pc perhaps,then the BBC can be brought under some type of control.Using voice recognition software 'trained' on the voices of BBC and other station's newsreaders and reporters.Turn it into text and a computer can go to work.My chief annoyance is the Conservatives being de-branded with the non reinforcing interchangeable use of 'Tory' and 'Conservative' By the BBC.Starting in radio news in 1996 and migrating to BBC televisionon newsreports with ever greater frequency up to the 1997 election.This was concurrent with the Labour/New 'Improved' Labour brand reinforcing marketing exercise.(Any influx of left leaning journalists into the BBC in the run up to the 1997 election,as mentioned in the Wilson report was apparently coincidental). Children should be taught critical thinking and the ways of Bernays in school.It's obvious the security services aren't interested in intervening in even quite blatant manipulation of the political process.In the case of Scarlet,they even appear to go along with taking the country to war based on lies.

Anonymous said...

Go and have a look at the posting from Anon 11:57 on the Friday Caption Competition on Guidos blog to see where all this irrational hatred ends up.

Would it be too much to ask for the hate filled idiots that frequent Iain's and Guido's blog to get some sort of grip on reality?

Chris Paul said...

There are three lawyers to advise before Goldy would come into play and then he has to seek advice from a fifth.

Hopefully the CPS will call this all a score draw (what with Lie-Low and LD Brown and all) and say this was a mishievious complaint from a philanderer (lock up your daughters it's the SNP), that he and his chancer should pay the cost of the 15 months so far, and that it is pointless to proceed.

And Blair's not in the frame. Goldy's not Levy etc's mate now is he?

If Blair is to be charged. If it gets through the other three lawyers you'd have more of a case.

The humbuggery and double standards from Tories on this is wretched and risible.

Marquee Mark said...

This is a highly unusual case, because New Labour has to decide whether it can get away with not prosecuting itself. To my mind, as long as a prima facie case has been made (and I doubt even the most rabid of New Labour hacks could deny that there has been something going on that is worthy of a public hearing) then both the CPS and the Attorney General should effectively recuse themselves. The matter should be presented to and decided upon by the public - in the shape of a jury.

Any other outcome than a trial on this matter will hang around Labour's neck for decades. In many ways, having no trial could do them more harm than a trial (even if it were to result in jail time for some senior players in New Labour - at least that could draw a line under matters).

Of course, there still might be a sting in the tail in this - in the shape of "what did Gordon know, and when did he know it?" He was the man who spent the tens of millions which had appeared following the planting of the five magic beans.* It truly beggars belief that the man in charge of the nations finances did not ask where the money came from - and if it would have to be paid back. That issue could yet sink the best laid plans of the Clunking Fist.

If there is no prosection sanctioned by the CPS, anybody know if there could still be a private prosection? A net-roots type sponsored event, where people are invited to pay into a fighting fund. Quite a tasty prospect. It would certainly sell well to those punters robbed of a trial by the Establishment, Mr Murdoch...

*Just struck by the thought of how good a panto dame Gordon would make! At least if it all goes tits up, he can get some employment in the long dark winter months as an Ugly Sister. A Scottish Widow Twankie, if you will. All together now "Gordon - behind you...!") (If you doubt me, look at the pose he is striking on Guido's caption competition...)

Athos said...

To be honest, I disagree with you on this one Iain. For him to step aside is to say that we shouldn't expect the AG to be impartial... I do.

So I am glad that he has not stepped aside, because it would restore a great deal of confidence in the honesty of certain government institutions if he did allow the prosecution to continue.

Of course, there remains the possibility that we will have a Hutton-like whitewash, but the question of that is how many can they sacrifice to conceal a whitewash without those individuals passing bucks in the direction of the protected individuals?

Praguetory said...

Athos - if he was charged himself he wouldn't be much more conflicted.

Colin D said...

The answer to this cash for honours fiasco is to Charge the 3 named. Convey to them in no uncertain terms that non co-operation, with the prosecution of ALL involved will result in 30 years.{same as the train robbers] See how the honorable measure up to that likelihood.

garypowell said...

"I hope the British people will not stand for it."

Begs the question.

What the hell can the British people do about anything this bunch of criminals are found red handed doing?

Public protest in Britain is inspired and carried out by a combination of the BBC, student, trade union, and various other extream left wing organisations.

Its only public disorder and riots that the politicians and media in general pay any attention to. This has always been the case and it seems now that this always will be the case.

The only voice the common man has is expressed with a small black pencil every 4 years or so.

Its not much to stop the ordinary citizen becoming an abused thought controlled impoverished prisoner in their own country. However the British people better start using them with a little bit more respect soon or even the pencils will go.

BOF2BS said...

Of course its worse than first appears - Per Guardian today

"The director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, has said he would stand back from any decision, as he was for three years a member of Matrix Chambers, where Mr Blair's wife, Cherie Booth, practises."

In fact he and Mrs Blair were joint founders of these chambers.

Another major cause for concern ise the Public Interest aspect of any charging decision as contained within the CPS code of conduct. This must be considered in every case.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/victims_witnesses/code.html

Jess The Dog said...

This is a lose-lose-lose situation for Bliar's regime, thanks to Goldsmith's stupidity:

1 If the CPS decide to prosecute the 3 (or some of them) then a few more cans of worms will be opened during any subsequent trial, one of them with Bliar's face on the label.

2 If there are insufficient grounds to prosecute, a whitewash will be believed by all. Trial by media is easier than trial in a courtroom.

3 If Goldsmith nobbles a prosecution, see 2 above.

jailhouselawyer said...

That's not a blog, nor a report, it's a paragraph.

Still, I agree that Goldsmith should stand aside. I would go further, and say that he should not even still be in the job.

If goldsmith does not publicly announce that he intends to distance himself from the decision-maker, perhaps an application by way of a judicial review should be started in the High Court?

Chris said...

>I really don't think a quotatation from a 1950's radio play by Robert Bolt (a notable philosopher?) has sufficient intellectual rigour.

Oh well, ad hominem will trump substance every time. That's me and Robert Bolt routed by the famous Chuck Unsworth, notable what, exactly?

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the comments of some contributors about Goldsmith himself, it clearly is wrong for a member of the Government to be able to decide both whether other members of or allies to the Government should be prosecuted and how much evidence should be placed in the public domain. I can't imagine that I am the only person wondering a) whether Goldsmith will be happy to see Levy, Turner etc sacrificed in order to keep the spotlight away from the party leadership; and b) what's happened to the elephant in the room: one would have to be very naive to imagine that Blair and his Ministers (insert parallel names for all past governments back to Lloyd George) were not aware of the favours bestowed in return for party support.

Madasafish said...

Personally I think whatever Goldsmith decides it's a lose-lose situation.

And it will be pretty obvious to the general public so Goldsmith will have no choice: if there is a 50% chance of a conviction, then there will be a persecution (co that's what it will be .. by media..). And Tony Blair as a witness...

And if he (Goldsmith) decides no prosecution, he'll be the the persecutee.

Bring it on.