Labour sleaze, comes in threes

by Stephen Tall on February 1, 2007

Today’s bulletins have been dominated by the revelation that the Prime Minister has, once again, been helping the police with their inquiries in the ‘cash for peerages’ scandal. Understandably so: it’s a big story.

The reason it will get attention is that it’s sensational, and easy-to-comprehend. But Tony allegedly dishing out Ks and Ps to Labour donors pales into insignificance besides the revelations in today’s papers that:

  • The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, once again buckled under pressure from No. 10 and compromised the integrity of his office by changing his legal advice to suit his boss. First, on the legality of the Iraq war. Now, on the Prime Minister’s decision to order the dropping of bribery charges against BAE to save jobs, erm, sorry, because the Saudis blackmailed him, whoops, I mean on grounds of national security.
  • A Grimsby family, who had fled Pakistan in 2003 under threat, was hastily deported, while their Labour MP (Austin Mitchell) was fobbed off by a minister (Liam Byrne) from his own Government. As Mr Mitchell wrote in today’s Indy: “An out-of-control Immigration and Nationality Directorate is doing what it wants to get deportations up. The minister goes along, ratifies its decisions (he hardly ever rejects them), observes its deadlines and strings MPs along, pretending to listen while doing nothing. … Perhaps we’ll win enough National Fronters to compensate for the loss of the many liberals this has alienated. I don’t know. But I do know how I feel. Ashamed.”

Put these three stories together… it’s not just about sleaze. It’s about something much, much more: the principles of due process, of equality before the law. It’s clear that such values are now held in deep contempt by this Prime Minister and his Government.

New Labour cannot claim to be a party of social justice until they begin to understand the concept of justice. Days like today demonstrate just how much they simply don’t get it.

There are good people in the Labour Party; and good people who will continue to vote for a party they once believed in, and perhaps still do. But it’s not enough. This Government long since lost its moral compass. It deserves to lose power.

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