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Thursday, July 13, 2006 

When the Levy breaks.

Labour has had numerous bad days in government since the 1997 election, a lot of them coming over the last two years, but yesterday has to rank up there among the very worst. Aside from being humiliated over the debate in the Commons concerning the despicable extradition treaty with America which is not reciprocated, they additionally had the spectre of yet more blood on their hands. As the Ministry of Truth noted, the discovery of the body of Neil Coulbeck, a witness involved in the case of the Natwest Three, brought back unpleasant memories for everyone of the suicide of Dr David Kelly, which resulted in the Hutton inquiry. (Thom Yorke's solo album, released on Monday, has a tribute to his memory which doubles as also being the best song - Harrowdown Hill.)

The Hutton inquiry and the investigation by Scotland Yard into the loans for peerages scandal at the moment share some possibly undesirable parallels for those of us who are hoping this will be the end of Blair. The Hutton inquiry heard what everyone assumed was damning evidence against the government, and that at least one government minister, possibly Geoff Hoon, would be made the fall guy. In the event, Lord Hutton turned all his fire on the BBC, and let the government off spectacularly.
The arrest of Lord Levy, Blair's chief fundraiser, Middle East envoy and tennis partner, might well turn out to be a similar dead end, but for now it's certainly something to *almost* get excited about.

And why not? Who honestly thought when the SNP MP made his complaint to the Met about the reports in the papers that they'd be taken seriously? It's easy to be wise after the fact, as some blogs have been, but the police don't usually make much of politically motivated campaigns. It's left Downing Street seething, as evidenced last night by dear old Dave Blunkett, the former rottweiler wheeled out to denounce the police for behaving "theatrically" in arresting Levy when he was more than willing to go and hand himself in. Sadly for Blunkett and all other Blairite loyalists, the man in charge of the investigation just happened to be giving evidence today to the Commons public administration committee, where he made clear that the arrest had been "integral" to the process - and also revealed that 48 people had been interviewed so far, with 13 under caution. Nor is the Met going purely after Labour's dodgy dealings; more Conservatives, who abused the system similarly to Labour, have been interviewed so far.

Labour's solution, as always, is to just avoid answering the questions. Ministers are refusing to comment because an "investigation is under way", while others just play the innocent act. The main excuse is that the Tories were doing it as well, and that the Lib Dems have their own dodgy sponsor in the shape of Michael Brown, but neither of them rewarded their secret donors with anything in the shape of peerages, nor did the chief architect behind the fundraising tell one of the donors to lie on his peerage nomination form. The other self-defeating excuse comes down to "Well, where else were we meant to get the money from? Most of our supporters detested the war in Iraq, the unions were only eventually placated through the Warwick agreement, so that left us with our favourite businessmen. And why would we want it to be shown that a party created by the unions to represent working people was being funded by the rich, even though their companies are crap? Wouldn't you have used a loophole if you saw it too? Be honest! Would you rather have had the nasty Michael Howard in power, with his "it's not racist to put limits on immigration" and "are you thinking what we're thinking?" campaign?" Complete and utter bullshit of course, but it makes some critical Labour supporters think twice.

All of which leaves Blair worrying about getting his collar felt as well. It's long been suspected that it was only he, Levy and Matt Carter, Labour's general secretary that knew about the secret loans. When Jack Dromey dared to suggest that he was kept in the dark,
he was smeared as not doing his job properly. From a man who promised to be whiter than white and to bring an end to sleaze, he's left looking as if he's been in a fight with someone using snowballs rolled in soot. Not even the worst of the sleaze throughout all the Tory years stuck to Major or Thatcher - it was only afterwards we found out about their misdeeds.

More damaging though are the prospects for Labour in government as a whole. It's no wonder that backbenchers are imploding, but not through anger at the police.
The left seems to be gearing up to challenge Blair, if Nick Robinson is to be believed. John McDonnell has no chance of winning or even coming close in a battle, but it could just be the additional catalyst needed to get Blair packing his bags, start his speaking tours of the US and writing his no doubt abominable memoirs.

Even so, it leaves the Labour party as an empty, vacuous shell. The Grauniad reports that Levy was yesterday meant to be having a meeting with "Sir" Philip Green, the cunt who thinks paying tax is only for the poor and middle classes, and Alan Johnson over possible sponsorship and fundraising for Labour's dismal city academies. When Blair finally goes, unless there's a complete clean out by whoever his successor turns out to be, the current cabinet will still be the same lot who are in thrall to those with huge amounts of money, the same set who got Labour in this mess in the first place.

As a result, Labour looks ever more likely to be booted out by that other vacuum, David Cameron and his err, resurgent Tories,
who can't even organise their removal from the centre-right grouping in the European parliament, one of Cameron's main actual policies, for years. At the moment though, even Cameron's face looks preferable to the Labour mess of their own making. Blair keeps talking about renewal. Surely even he, deluded as he is, must realise that his and Prescott's continued presence is destroying Labour as a whole. If Blair genuinely does care about the Labour party, and there's plenty of evidence suggesting he doesn't, then he'll either quit now or very very soon. Anything else will just be giving David Cameron a blank cheque.

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A few questions

1. How many more chances can tone have?
2. If levy looks like he's going down do you think he will take any one with him
3. This is an observation, I nearly pissed off when I saw old shagger no one takes me seriously anymore blunkett hauled out.
4. How much do you think Gordon Brown is loving this?
5. How much notice do you reckon that the americans are taking of the fact that their co commander in chief of the war on terror ( supposedly) is facing a big domestic shit storm?

Lots of questions I know but I think your answers would be good Pippa.

Oh yeah, if you are interested let me know what you think about the middle east situation and saddam, i've posted on these as I have on the levy situation.

1. God knows.
2. If he goes down, Blair goes down.
4. He's probably enjoying Blair and his cronies getting mauled, but he'll be deeply worried about the damage being done to the party.
5. None. Whoever takes over from Blair, I very much doubt they'll be any change in foreign policy.

Everyone misses the point.

A big poker game is being played.

2 Hands

1. Held by Blair (Sir Ian), Trumps are the chances of a series of the great and not so good having their collars felt (see kidnapping of Lord Levy in broad daylight). Talks of having a serious chat with our Dear Leader. Scandalum magnatum.

2. Held by Blair. The Dear leader. 7/7 cock ups, de Menezes murder, and consequent lies, exposure of cock-ups (scapegoat Dicj lined up for that one), taping telcons with Att. Gnl. Reid tells Police to revise "Timeline" for Luton train carrying "suicide bombers" ...etc.,

Prospect of a deal before CPS makes decision about charging Plods re de Menezes and IPCC gets serious about having chat with Balir (Sir Ian - still not been seen !).

Deal done and Levy can be satsified that the mohair, Savile Suit collar will not be used to lift him again from his "Eezi Uplift Hi-heel Dancing pumps, nor ruffle his bouffant hair and that there is unsufficent evidence etc., ... and everyone goes off on a Summer Holiday to Cliff's place .... and preferably at his expense..

Hoever JOhn"The Hammer of the Gorbals" reid is not cleansing the Augean stables of the Home Office without ulterior mtive.

He with Hain will replace Blair and Prescott in a very swift and certain move blessed by Brown happy to stay in a Brown study at No 10 - already cleared with Washington - remember reid has ferried our boys out to Afghanistan when MOD chief to pluck some of Dubyas chestnuts out of the fire into the firing range.

Bollocks! I hear you cry. Well what's your explanation and anal ysis?

No wonder nobody is mentuioing beirut they have plenty on their hands.

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