Michelle Mone in the Lords was bad enough. What on earth possessed Cameron? It comes as no surprise to find that the VIP lane during Covid resulted in her and others making large profits from their friendships and contacts with politicians, the supply of goods fit for the purpose being purely incidental and often non-existent. Questions have been asked about what she bought with the humongous profits made and where the money has gone. What ought to be asked is what role politicians played in the award of these contracts, why there were no contractual provisions allowing the recovery of monies or, if there were, why they have not been used and why government is so unwilling to pursue allegations of fraud where public money is involved. A “Goldman Sachs style audit” (as favoured by Sunak for the money given to Ukraine) might even be worthwhile. Ukrainians fighting for their freedom can be cut some slack; chancers treating a killer virus as an opportunity to help themselves to our money should not be.
Sunak’s poor judgment continues with the revelation that he has approved yet more of our money being spent on Johnson’s Partygate legal fees. The contract with Peters & Peters, a law firm well known for their fraud expertise, has been extended to next February. Quite why a man who has earned the best part of a million quid since resigning as PM should expect us to pay for his legal fees is not explained. Apparently his statements to Parliament were made “on behalf of HM Government” hence the decision. On that basis, any MP serving in government and under investigation would also be entitled to get us to pay for expensive lawyers. Is Raab also being similarly favoured? After all he has a KC investigating him not a mere Parliamentary committee. Or is this yet another example of Boris treating government interests and his own as entirely the same and, worse, persuading gullible fools like Sunak to agree? At this rate Owen Paterson will be asking the government to fund his appeal to the ECHR. (Memo to Raab: don’t even think about it.)
If only Sunak had an ethics advisor to help him with these tricky questions? Despite announcing that his government would be one of “integrity”, no ethics advisor has been appointed. It is rumoured that several candidates have turned the post down, as well they might. Why ruin your reputation by associating yourself with a brand as damaged as the Tory one. Still, there must be some damaged or incompetent police officer kicking their heels somewhere who could be persuaded. The lovely Cressida comes to mind. After all, if a senior police officer currently under investigation for gross misconduct (Mike Veale – accused of inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues, discrimination and unprofessional conduct) can be appointed to a police scrutiny role, despite the police watchdog saying months ago that there was “sufficient evidence to indicate …[he] … had breached the standards of professional behaviour”, why not her? Given how low police standards of professional behaviour are (as painfully detailed in multiple reports), how bad must his behaviour have been? A hearing date has yet to be set. Unsurprising given that the head of the IOPC was himself forced to resign when put under investigation over allegations of an improper relationship with an under-age child. Have police watchdogs now adopted a “Show and Tell” approach to the matters they investigate?
Labour should not get too smug. Mike Veale disgraced himself in relation to historic child abuse investigations, relying on the allegations made by the paedophile fantasist, Carl Beech. No politician did more to push Beech’s claims, in Parliament and outside, than Tom Watson. He abused his position as MP, he caused real harm to those against whom false accusations were made, he helped distort – for a while – the criminal justice system, he was unashamedly partisan in his so-called concern for child abuse victims and his apology was utterly unequal to his wickedness and failures. Despite all this, Starmer nominated him to sit in the House of Lords. If Starmer had any real care for the CPS, for the criminal justice system (other than as a prop for his “public servant” credentials) he would have blanked Watson not promoted him. A disgraceful decision.
Little wonder that the Rotherham Labour Party has chosen as its Parliamentary candidate a former councillor who had to resign, along with the rest of the council, in 2015 when it was found that it was “in denial” about the findings of Professor Jay on child abuse in Rotherham and the council’s failures. That’s just what we need: MPs in denial about serious problems, problems which according the the final IICSA Report are still continuing.
And this month, two independent reports on a Birmingham hotel development funded by Unite, Labour’s biggest trade union backer for many years under McCluskey’s leadership, were passed to the police because of evidence of potential criminality. A story worth watching.
I don’t want to be relentlessly negative. Cynicism is tiring enough. So here’s a suggestion. Make Boris the Ethics Advisor. He has all the expertise you could possibly want in ignoring all and any ethical considerations, providing all sorts of excuses for every kind of bad behaviour and doing so with brio and the type of sincerely faked outrage that gets you a Netflix documentary. It will save the government and Tory party no end of trouble. Imagine the relief they will feel at not having even to pretend to follow the rules. The opposition parties will enjoy being Grade A hypocrites. Voters can ignore Sunak’s guff about “integrity, professionalism and accountability”. And we can all have a good laugh. God knows we need it. It’s not as if we’re going to get much else out of any of them.