Archive for the ‘Tony ‘King Blair’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 3, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Independent – Blair handover: If not now, when?: In the old Nottinghamshire mining town of Kirkby, 30 Labour Party activists sat in a horseshoe-shaped huddle in their modern party offices on Friday night, sipping mineral water. Party stalwarts and councillors meet every six weeks to discuss such staples of grassroots political activity as fundraising for party campaigns. But the agenda for the general committee of the Ashfield Constituency Labour Party last week included an item that was potentially incendiary. Senior members had called for a vote on when the Prime Minister should resign. Towards the end of the meeting, at 8.30pm, hands shot up as the motion went to a vote. Some had argued passionately that the Prime Minister should set out a timetable to quit, to restore certainty to politics and to prepare the ground for an “orderly” handover to Gordon Brown. Others called for calm, and argued against forcing the Tony Blair’s hand. It was this faction that won the day, and the call for a timetable for departure was soundly defeated.

Guardian – Brown and Blair prepare united front for local election campaign launch: Labour officials last night scrambled to ensure that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown share a platform when Labour launches its local election campaign this week, in a renewed attempt to display public unity in the face of factional squabbles in the party.

Well, that’s it; it’s time to correct this beast with a short, sharp pull on the choke-chain.

Quiet, please… man building.

PS – I meant to write a long apology/explanation for Bob Piper this morning… but it turns out that I don’t need to. In the comments under this post he says it himself; “I can understand your reservations on [insert issue here], but your local councillor is hardly to blame. Having said that, every vote for Labour will be claimed by Blair as a vote of confidence in him.”

So all I really need to say is; “Sorry… but you know why this is necessary.”








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 31, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

ePolitix – MP demands Labour handover plan: A Labour MP has called on the party’s executive committee to begin planning the handover of power from Tony Blair. John Trickett was one of two MPs to use a meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party on Monday night to say the Labour NEC should meet within the next few weeks in the wake of indications from the prime minister that he has a timetable for stepping down in mind. And on Tuesday the Hemsworth MP said the party needed some certainty as to what this was.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 29, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Don’t you find it a little odd that Mary Creagh, the Labour MP who is worried that we all might burn ourselves has never formally objected to a government that approves of boiling people alive? Perhaps she thinks that if she looks after the boo-boos, the murders will take care of themselves.

Meanwhile… the battle over ID Cards is hotting up and push is about to come to shove. (It would pay to keep an eye on the news, NO2ID and SpyBlog today and tomorrow.)

Meanwhile… I’ve heard back from a few people who have written to their MPs about Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, and there are two stock replies; supporters seek to reassure us that controls are in place (while wilfully ignoring the fact that the proposed bill is of the self-amending variety), and opponents tell us that they are indeed worried about the bill but don’t have any actual plans to fight it. (More here if you need it.)

Meanwhile… the parliamentary investigation into the loans scandal has been delayed by the police investigation.

Meanwhile… Non-Brownite Labour MPs with a brain/conscience scramble to find their testicles.

Meanwhile… our government’s involvement in Guantanamo bay looks deeper and sleazier by the day and Jack Straw plans to spend the weekend chumming up with a key player in the Bush administration. (They have a special relationship based on selective perception; Jack can read a memo entitled “Receipt of Intelligence Obtained Under Torture” and see no sign that torture is being used for our ‘benefit’ and Condi can read a report entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States” and see no sign of a potential threat.)

Meanwhile… yet another uncomfortable moment in our government’s relationship with the Bush administration, heightened by the impending visit by one of their officials, has resulted in the release of a nasty little beastie that hasn’t enjoyed free reign since Bush came to town…. read Chicken Yoghurt on the ‘anti-American’ gambit – oh, and BlairWatch (and be aware that the ‘threat of violence’ and/or ‘protestors side with terrorists’ arguments cannot be too far behind).

Meanwhile… the slug in charge of the Home Office – the chap who thinks you should be detained without trial for up to 90 days so the police can ask you ‘a few questions’ and cynically uses victims of terrorism to justify such measures – has graciously allotted 10 minutes for a victim of terrorism, but only to diffuse the situation he created by being too sensitive/important/regal to answer questions himself.

Meanwhile… as anxiety over upcoming local elections builds (and signs do not look good), preparations are underway to cynically use the plight of hard-working local councillors who – in David Blunkett’s words – “are trooping the streets night after night in the endeavour to persuade people to vote Labour”… but we all know that a vote for these ‘innocent bystanders’ will be used and portrayed as an endorsement of Blair.

I’m sorry, but I’m not having any of it (and I’m not expecting the earth to be split asunder by the following announcement, I’m just letting you know where the line is for me).

Labour bods have until this weekend to rid us of this dangerous, abusive, self-serving, lying and murderous regime by any legal/democratic means possible.

If Monday does not bring a clear signal of their intention to deal with this problem with the urgency it requires, then – as far as I’m concerned – it’s all-out war on Labour during the local elections… starting *from* Monday.

No prisoners. No exceptions.

This shit must end.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 24, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day, the beaches are open, and the folks here are having a wonderful time (and I’m sure you can guess which movie I watched last night)…

New Statesman – The men in grey suits must do their duty: Blair has to be persuaded to stand down. The announcement should take place this spring, with a leadership contest in the summer. (via)

I disagree. For the good of the Labour Party, for the good of the country, and for the good of the whole bloody world, Tony Blair must not leave Downing St voluntarily… and if he does, he must be forced to resign in shame. (And before anybody makes any smart-arse remarks about intervention, I would remind them that this measure is far from pre-emptive.)

Why? Because someone has to be called to account or the next batch of power-mad bastards – here or abroad – will think they can get away with exactly the same thing.

I’ll move onto the guts after a few stabs at the heel:

Blair is a pretty straight sort of a guy

BBC – Capita boss quits over Blair loan
BSSC – Crapita Protection Racket
BlairWatch – Was Rod Aldridge Going to Resign Anyway?
Independent – Contractor who lent Labour £1m quits over sleaze fears
Guardian – Capita chairman quits after criticism of loan to Labour

There’s a lot to say here this morning, so let me be brief about this particular issue; if the PM approves a scheme that sees a winner of major government contracts *approached* for a loan because it neatly sidesteps a law controlling donations (that they themselves championed; bully for them) then that is corruption. There’s no denying it.

Now we lunge for the guts, and we begin with bankruptcy…

The Blair-led coalition currently passing itself off as the face of the Labour Party is bankrupt in every sense of the word. Their finances, their morals, their authority… they have squandered it all and abandoned everything but the facade that keeps them in power.

And we continue to let them get away with it… to the point where soon they’ll be able to write their own laws without democratic oversight.

Your right to protest

If you got so mad about this (or anything else for that matter) that you decided to congregate at Downing St this afternoon to protest, there are already laws introduced by this government that allow the police to round you up and shut you up.

Take a look at Belarus and witness your future; it only took riot police 15 minutes to round up 200 protestors who – like may international observers – thought the election was more than a little fishy. But protestors first enabled the authorities by losing their will and dwindling in number. The media helped by ignoring or denouncing the initially 20,000-strong protest… police bullying, the weather and a lack of will did the rest. Then, finally, Lukashenko was confident that he could sort the whole thing out with a dustpan and brush.

Here I wish to make a quick point about precedent and accountability… Lukashenko knew that he would get away with this if he didn’t shoot anybody. Here’s why.

Now you need to take a moment and look at the worldwide numbers during the most recent protests over foreign policy and consider that we here in Britain only boast one man willing to stick to his guns (so to speak).

The media is to blame

Meanwhile, we are assured that the media never report any good news from Iraq and that this is what is causing all of the problems. (That, and people object to Blair ‘purely because they disagreed with him about Iraq’, so can’t we all please move on? For the sake of the Iraqis? Please?)

Bush claimed a day or so ago that this behaviour enabled the terrorists… the same terrorists that he created a playground for in that same country. Pretty neat trick, huh?

Bush and Blair use this same tactic when confronted with images of abuse and torture. Here’s a clue for you, Jack… if you think awareness of this kind of behaviour enables terrorists, then don’t employ these tactics in the first place!

For fuck’s sake…

(breathes)

We don’t do torture

And now, some more images of torture and abuse, deliberately released by leftist apologists as ammunition for the terrists:

Salon.com – The Abu Ghraib files: Three years and at least six Pentagon investigations later, we now know that many share the blame for the outrages that took place at Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2003. The abuse took place against the backdrop of rising chaos in Iraq. In those months the U.S. military faced a raging insurgency for which it hadn’t planned. As mortar attacks rained down on the overcrowded prison — at one point there were only 450 guards for 7,000 prisoners — its command structure broke down. At the same time, the pressure from the Pentagon and the White House for “actionable intelligence” was intense, and harsh interrogation techniques were approved to obtain it. Bush administration lawyers, including Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, had already created a radical post-9/11 legal framework that disregarded the Geneva Conventions and other international laws governing the humane treatment of prisoners in the “war on terror.” Intelligence agencies such as the CIA were apparently given the green light to operate by their own set of secret rules. But while the Pentagon’s own probes have acknowledged that military commanders, civilian contractors, the CIA and government policymakers all bear some responsibility for the abuses, to date only nine enlisted soldiers have been prosecuted for their crimes at Abu Ghraib (see sidebar). An additional four soldiers and eight officers, including Brinson, Pappas and Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of military police at Abu Ghraib, have been reprimanded. (Pappas and Karpinski were also relieved of their posts.) To date no high-level U.S. officials have been brought to justice in a court of law for what went on at Abu Ghraib.

And guess what? We were there, too. We also participated in Guantanamo. And allowed up to 73 planes to refuel in our country as the U.S. shipped an unknown number of suspects to countries where they could be tortured for our ‘benefit…. countries like Uzbekistan.

In my darker moments when I begin to lose hope and/or the hammering of willing media causes me to doubt my sanity, I often turn to this:

Team Blair pulled out all the stops to protect the drunken womaniser David Blunkett when he actually did naughty things with his penis that led to shady visa dealings… and even when he was brought down, Blair stood by him and said that he left office “with no stain of impropriety against him whatsoever”. But when then-ambassador Craig Murray refused to shut up about torture and murder conducted by our then-ally Uzbekistan, they pulled out all the stops to destroy him with false claims of drunkenness, womanising and shady visa dealings.

That says it all for me… Blair uses morals as a weapon to protect actions and polices that are morally repugnant (and just plain wrong, even in purely practical terms).

Respect the victims

In July 2005, I resisted the temptation to ‘respect’ the victims of the London bombings and let Bush and Blair have their wicked way with them and then posted this: On Thursday the 7th of July, both Tony Blair and George W. Bush climbed over the bodies of the dead, dying and wounded in order to claim the moral high ground. I’m sorry there isn’t a more pleasant way to say that; it’s just the way it is. They also used this atrocity to further cement their foreign and domestic policy. The same policies that prompt and/or enable such atrocities. In the process, they recruited human beings in no position to disagree with them . Sadly, this is not a first for Tony Blair.

It took a while for others to realise just how cavalier they could be about this, though the then-ally Scum newspaper woke a lot of people up when they hijacked a victim of terrorism to help Blair sell his 90-day detention plan. And they’re still at it now… showing that they don’t know or care if those victims are alive or dead… all that really matters to them is if a collective/individual plight can further their agenda.

Ditto for Blair. Here’s a fucking bombshell for you… he only ‘cares’ about victims when the cameras are rolling:

Rachel North – Ready to speak out: I have worked out that I gave my details out eleven times at least, possibly more, but by 24th October I was still, apparently, not on an official Department of Culture Media and Sport list of survivors, and nor were many other passengers. This is staggeringly incompetent: I and other people managed to climb out of a bombed train, find each other, look after each other, and now we have almost 100 survivors’ names and details. We have executed a successful media strategy, helped each other find counsellors, fill in compensation firms, find lawyers, medical help, dealt with hundreds of media enquiries, safeguarded ourselves from nutters and weirdoes trying to infiltrate the group, organised a 6 month memorial ceremony, set up a website, campaigned for a public enquiry, liaised with the police, all whilst holding down a day job and recovering from injuries and PTSD. And nobody has given us any funding: we haven’t asked for it we did it all by ourselves, for free. Meanwhile someone, somewhere has a salary or a grant and a job description that is about looking after victims of July 7th. I’d like to know what they are bloody well doing, frankly.

Chicken Yoghurt – Justify this: However you look at it, Rachel North and the other survivors of the July 7 bombings have been badly, inexcusably let down. They’ve had to fight for every scrap of help and recognition. I’d like to hear a government minister try and justify this. No doubt it’d be hand-wringing laments of being “unable to go into details of individual cases” and “things are improving” and “INSERT NON-SPECIFIC PLATITUDE HERE”. No wonder the Government don’t want a public inquiry into the bombings. Tales of the careless, aloof, unfeeling and incompetent treatment of these people are the last thing this grubby and limping administration needs right now.

Now I want to get back to loans and a different kind of bombshell… primarily because the paperwork seems to be above board.

Bear with me… you’ll need some background:

We don’t use chemical weapons

I shan’t bother you with tales of napalm. We knew it was being used in Iraq. Well, sensible people did. Blair’s team turned a blind eye and pretended to be surprised when it almost blew up in their faces. So to speak II. What I want to talk about is white phosphorus…

A white phosphorus round, when used only for illumination or screening, is a perfectly legal device. But when you use it as an anti-personnel device, it becomes a chemical weapon. Even the Pentagon agrees on this point… when they’re not using as an anti-personnel device in Iraq… erm… to stop a dangerous tyrant who supposedly had large reserves of chemical weapons and the will to use them.

Now, please pay attention, because I have not blogged this before, as I only have two sources and have not been able to pursue the matter… but I figure if I’m wrong, then John Reid will be in touch soon enough with the relevant legal papers and we can sort the whole thing out from there.

The first source was a soldier; one of Tony Blair’s true believers who – it must be pointed out – didn’t know who he was talking to. He was perfectly willing to go and fight and die for the ‘good cause’ in Iraq, even though (and I personally found this quite telling) he had no idea who Rupert Murdoch was. So I think it’s fair to say that he had no axe to grind.

He told me that all of the training paperwork and processes teach soldiers how to deploy white phosphorus for the purposes of illumination and/or screening. They learn how to store, load and fire the weapon in a way that is completely in keeping with the law. Then their corporals give them repeated informal briefings on how to use it to clear rooms, bunkers and trenches. Rooms, bunkers and trenches full of people.

But, of course, all of the paperwork seems to be above board.

The second source involved a confrontation with someone who should know about such things. And not a ‘friendly’, I should add. His response was to assure me that I would be sued from here to kingdom come if I dared to publish the claim. I noted the lack of denial (Boy, they are good at this, aren’t they?) and made my question more direct. No denial followed; only a rather graphic outline of what it would cost me if I published the claim.

So, here I am. It’s done. I’ve made the claim. Would anyone care to confirm or deny it? Or perhaps sue me to kingdom come? Perhaps John Reid would care to deny knowledge that it happens (all of the paperwork seems to be above board) and then act surprised when it turns out to be true.

This shit must end

All of these matters and more need to be addressed. Without fear. I say we that we should let the record show that Britain stood up for what’s right and gave Blair what for.

Yes, we may end up with an interim, crippled or Tory government as a result, but – at this stage – that’s better than what we have and more than we deserve.

One last time, folks…. over the top we go. And this time let’s finish the job.

Attention all troops

This is a formal call for an ammunition check. What have we got that we haven’t used? What have we got that can be used again? Count it, check it, and get ready to use it. Blair must fall.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 22, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Blunkett wades in with a whopper!

UPDATE (23 March) – Bloody hell! Blunkett is even more shouty-crackers in today’s Sun! He starts off with a ‘this is the way it’s always been done’ pre-amble, then gets up a full head of steam for this:

There are some people who blame Tony Blair for the latest ruckus. Come off it! Of course he takes responsibility. But does anyone REALLY think that in the middle of an 18-hour-a-day election campaign he has the time to ask about every contribution “Is this a loan or a gift?” You might just have thought that this was the job of the party treasurer, Jack Dromey, who suddenly became aware of it and went into quite a tizzy.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 22, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

The Independent points out the following this morning: Can the loans be converted into donations at a later date? Yes. There is nothing to stop the loans quietly being turned into donations when the dust has settled. Some of the lenders, such as Chai Patel, actually offered donations but were told to make them loans.

I’m going to ask you to think about that for a moment… these people came offering donations, but were instead asked for loans. Were it not for this scandal, how many of them do you think would be prepared to simply write off the loan after a suitable period? You get ten points if you answered correctly; All. Of. Them.

Oh dear. Accidental money. What a shame. Boy, it’s a good thing that all of the paperwork is above board.

How in the hell did Labour Downing Street expect to pay the money back? Short answer; they didn’t.

(Phew. That was a close one. For a while there, I though Tony Blair might be a radical rapturist; determined to forcibly bring about the conditions required for the return of Jesus to Earth and caring not a jot about what the bank might want a few months from now.)

Now compare this to the behaviour of Capita (whose executive chairman Rod Aldridge played the above ‘loan’ game for as long as he thought he could get away with it), where they typically go in with the lowest bid then go well over budget… but still keep getting contract after contract from this government!

Oh dear. Accidental money. What a shame. Boy, it’s a good thing that all of the paperwork is above board.

PS – I found this dated but useful report on Capita contracts during my travels, but it would be much, much more useful to have some proper access to past issues of Private Eye.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 22, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Oh dear…

26 January 2006

Written answers:

Norman Baker (Lewes, LDem):

To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to (a) review and (b) reform the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.

Tony Blair (Prime Minister):

No.

Oh *dear*….

22 March 2006

Independent – Police probe ‘loans for peerages’ in blow to Blair: Tony Blair’s attempt to draw a line under the “loans for peerages” scandal was scuppered when Scotland Yard launched an investigation into the alleged sale of honours by Labour. Hours after Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) agreed to close ranks to limit the damage from the affair, the Metropolitan Police said its specialist crime directorate was looking into three complaints about alleged breaches of a 1925 law passed following the sale of peerages by David Lloyd George when he was Prime Minister. Two of the complaints were made by the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, and Labour officials hope the move will be seen as a political stunt. There has been only one prosecution under the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 22, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Tony 'King Blair

Boobs against BlairPage 3 is back on deck… with a new message.

(Note – It’s been a while since I’ve reported on Page 3… for reasons that should become clear within a paragraph or two. Newcomers may wish to check out the initial report and sightings that followed.)

Last year, Page 3 underwent a subtle change, which was noted here, when – for the second time in 12 months – a Page 3 girl wept at Blunkett’s departure: Today, the only difference is Rebekah Wade’s recent design order that places more contentious views away from the model’s face

Further; with the exception of this contribution to Rupert Murdoch’s annual anti-secular Christmas campaign, Page 3 has been largely silent on the subject of politics since Rebekah Wade’s 90-day detention adventure (followed by Bloggerheads posts at such as this and this).

I get all sorts of strange looks from the locals these days, as I have a morning ritual that I adhere to strictly… I reach for the Sun and scan Page 3, before buying a copy of the Independent. I share this titbit of information with you to:
a) garner your sympathy
b) let you know that I have been paying attention, and can therefore speak with some authority on this matter

Now, lurkers with LexisNexis may wish to double-check my work, but as far as I am aware, there has not been a serious political message on Page 3 for the last 4 months and 12 days. (I seem to recall a bleat or two about crime rates, but for the most part it’s all been about the disgraceful/admirable behaviour of one celeb or another.)

Today, the message is back next to the model’s face, it’s very political in nature… and it is almost certainly not a message that has been drafted or approved by Downing Street:

Becky (24, from London) shows off her pert boobies as she tells us that politicians need to clean up their act if they want to get our votes. She then ‘says’; “The loans-for-peerages row has only made people question the work of the government more.”

Make of that what you will.

UPDATE (23 March) – More from Page 3 today, where topless favourite Keeley gets her kit off to claim that the budget shows how desperate Gordon Brown is to get into No. 10. She ‘says’: “He’s giving away money so voters back him. But is it a Budget on the never-never from a Chancellor who might never be PM?”

Tits and wit; a winning combination.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 21, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

CuriousHamster – Time’s Up: Two views of Blair. One conclusion. Parris, an ex-Tory MP writing in the Times, gets Blair exactly right. The Guardian’s rather generous suggestion that “Mr Blair risks becoming a leader without purpose beyond power” is consistent with a newspaper which, despite the criticisms it does air, has backed Blair pretty consistently over the years.

I’d like to add to that, if I may.

Most of Blair’s crimes normally get the following treatment in the Sun:

A. No mention whatsoever and/or heavy focus on a largely invented story designed to divert our attention.
B. A cursory mention on Page 2, but no editorial.
C. Heavy focus with a sympathetic angle and/or editorial.
D. All of the above in sequence if the story fails to go away.

Today, this story manages to stay off the front page (the Sun and the Express are the only major newspapers not to feature in on the front page today) and is placed on Page 2, but just take a look at the focus of it…

The Scum – PM pal’s contract bonanza: The millionaire boss of a firm that runs public-sector contracts worth billions secretly loaned the Labour party 1million. Rod Aldridge, boss of systems giant Capita, appeared on a list – released by party officials – of 12 tycoons who gave a total of 14million. It is the latest in a series of “loans for favours” scandals to hit the Government. Capita has secured a range of highly lucrative contracts under Labour, including setting up the Criminal Records Bureau (worth 400MILLION), running London’s congestion charge scheme (250MILLION over five years) and TV licence fee collection (500MILLION over ten years). It also sends out council tax bills and administers teachers’ pensions. Capita recently revealed its profits leapt 19 per cent to 177million last year. Mr Aldridge said at the time: “The two top markets for us would be the life and pensions market and central Government.” About 46 per cent of Capita’s contracts are with the public sector but it has a dubious track record. Its CRB arm was fined £2million for hindering schools checking criminal records of would-be teachers. And London Mayor Ken Livingstone dubbed Capita “hopeless” over its handling of the congestion charge. Mr Aldridge, 57, one of Britain’s 300 richest men, earned £2.2million last year. The dozen money men made their loans to Labour before the 2005 election – helping Mr Blair to his third victory. In a bid to head off the row last night, Mr Aldridge said he wanted his loan paid back by October – with interest. Meanwhile, snooty Lord Falconer last night arrogantly joked that being Tony Blair’s old FLATMATE got him his peerage. He told guests at a Commons event: “I did not pay for my peerage – sharing a flat with Tony Blair was perfectly adequate.” He and Mr Blair had a flat together when both were young lawyers. The other businessmen on yesterday’s list of Labour financiers were: Richard Caring, rag trade king and owner of London’s Ivy restaurant (2m); property magnate Sir David Garrard (2.3m); biosciences Prof Sir Christopher Evans (1m); software entrepreneur Gordon Crawford (500,000); finance chief Nigel Morris (1m); food tycoon Sir Gulam Noon (250,000); Priory Clinic founder Dr Chai Patel (1.5m); property bigwig Andrew Rosenfeld (1m); Science Minister Lord David Sainsbury (2m); financial services boss Barry Townsley (1m); City financier Derek Tullett (400,000). HALF of voters believe Tony Blair should step down as PM within a year, a Newsnight poll reveals today – with almost a third saying he should go NOW.

As CuriousHamster and Nosemonkey point out, our public broadcaster and the broadsheets even now remain reluctant to give the Crapita/Blair relationship the long-overdue attention it deserves. Doesn’t it feel just a little bit odd to see it in the Downing Street Echo?

And check out this editorial…

The Scum – A bad smell: John Prescott predictably tries to divert the sleaze spotlight from Labour to Tories. It won’t wash. The Tories made no secret of the loans they’ve raised. Nor are they in power. Labour has been in office for nine years, and has turned gongs-for-gifts into a growth industry. Now it emerges Capita boss Rod Aldridge, who gave 1million to Labour, has boosted profits on the back of public sector deals. The tendering process was almost certainly above reproach. And Mr Aldridge is not on the present list of would-be peers. But the honours system is now an open sewer – and the more we learn, the worse it stinks.

You may also note the leading editorial that begins; “The Home Secretary is willing to insult the bereaved dad of a 7/7 bomb victim, but he won’t lift a politically-correct finger to protect us against killers.”

I can’t find the related article… could they actually be referring to this?

It looks to me as if Murdoch is ready to cut and run and continue his glorious war on evil with a new subordinate.

Add to this that even people like Johann Hari admitting he was wrong about Iraq and the usual defence measures start to look more than a little futile.

And this week, we even have the timely return of Alan B’Stard to enjoy.

Are we finally there? Have we reached that point where the holding wall will collapse and all of the dirty secrets buried behind it will come spilling out?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been suffering from expectation fatigue for too long to dare to hold any great hope… but I will take the time to engage in some voodoo today and scan the news for that magical word ‘Capita’ tomorrow.

UPDATE – Financial Times – Aldridge loan puts spotlight on Capita contracts

UPDATE – Ahahahahahahahaha! Now this is more like what we’re used to from Team Blair… Alastair must be back at his desk:

BBC – Clarke targets Labour treasurer: Charles Clarke says he has “serious questions about Jack Dromey’s capacity” as Labour treasurer after the row over the 14m of secret loans to the party. The home secretary told a Westminster lunch the fact Mr Dromey did not know about the loans meant “you have to wonder how well he was doing his work”. He said any competent treasurer, even honorary ones, looked at the finances of organisations they were involved in.

Check the spin on that. That’s quality, that is.

UPDATE – CuriousHamster – Contempt All Round: In other news, a professional criminal, finally caught after a long and fruitful crime spree, has complained that the police’s continual failure to catch him raised serious questions about their capacity to do their jobs.

UPDATE – TalkPolitics – Unbe-fucking-lievable: But, of course, Clarke may his own, rather more selfish reasons for trying to smear Dromey – after all the company, Capita, headed up by one of the donors who bunced the party a cool million before the election, Rod Aldridge, is not only making a nice living out of outsourced government contracts but is also one of the 160 companies to have registered an interest in bidding for contracts for the ID cards system, should that ever break free from the current Commons/Lords games of legisilative ping-pong.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 20, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Guardian – Unhappy Prescott defends PM as poll ratings dive
Blood & Treasure – Tony the time waster
Beau Bo Blog – Loans for honours
CuriousHamster – Totally Above Board
BlairWatch – David Mills For Party Treasurer!
Nick Robinson – Question of the day

You know, as interesting as it is to see the putrid contents spilling on the floor following this forced autopsy – and as entertaining as it is to see Tony Blair take control of the fundraising issue (which is surely the issue here) with immediate and bold action that’s almost a decade overdue – the thing that really sticks with me is this:

What. That. Money. Was. Spent. On.

The answer is incredibly simple, and easy to spin in that infuriatingly earnest way that Blair has; this money was spent on ‘real people’…

Quite early on in this ‘game’ with new rules, Blair assured Parliament that he would be held accountable by the electorate (rather than, say, history or God) if he was wrong about Iraq… so of course it was vitally important that – during his 2005 election campaign – the issue only ever came up in tightly controlled conditions. We wouldn’t want the electorate getting carried away, now would we?

And so it was that Tony Blair found himself in a magical fantasy land where everyone he met was far more interested in his vision of the future than his crimes of the past..

Independent – ‘Rent-a-crowds’ ensure nothing is left to chance on campaign trail (mirror)
Dead Men Left – Like a Virgo
Guardian – ‘We only work for croissants’
Guardian – How Labour used its election troops to fake popular support

Admittedly, these ‘real people’ were so thin on the ground that they had to be rationed carefully and shipped with great care…. however, sometimes Tony also needed a ‘real setting’ in which to meet ‘real people’, and here the costs were higher… especially so in this election. (In 2001, shutting down entire cafes for staged meetings with the ‘public’ was the norm (an interesting article that touches on this can be read here). In 2005, they actually *built* outdoor cafes so Blair could have a ‘spontaneous’ chats in them.)

There was also the much larger army of agenda-setters… and thanks to people like Zack Exley, the ‘genuine letter from a concerned constituent’ technique was given a 21st-century upgrade. Blogs, discussion groups and feedback boards were chock-full of ‘real people’ trying to:

1. Keep us ‘on-message’ (“Schools! Hospitals! Free ice-cream!”) and plea with us to shut up about Iraq.
2. Warn us of the ‘certainty’ that the Tories would win should we dare to deliver a protest vote over Iraq.
3. Paint any attempt to force accountability over Iraq via the ballot box as a mindless/personal attack on Tony Blair.
4. Defend Blair over Iraq and the war on terror in ways that he and his ministers would never dare. (“You know, sometimes it’s right to torture people. Why, if there were a ticking time bomb…”)

‘Honest’ John Prescott was wheeled out over the weekend to assure us that campaigns needed to be well-funded for the good of the people. He said; “If you want an informed democracy, you’ve got to have campaigning.”

Ah, yes… an informed democracy. Nothing quite like it, is there?








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