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Home > Politics

No Stain, No Gain

7 November 2005

Politics. It just isn't fair. Look at David Blunkett. A working class hero who commits a few simple, honest mistakes and is consequently hounded out of his job. Not once but twice. Worse still, he is treated like dirt in the process. First time he was bullied out of office, all he took with him were the clothes on his back and a measly 18,000 handshake. With that alone he had to subsist on his sixty grand MP's salary, the ministerial car and rent-free use of a 3m Belgravia love-nest. Oh, the indignity. This time round it's even worse. He still gets the eighteen grand reverse scandal tax of course, and all that other stuff, but it looks like he may have to forfeit the love-nest. A working class hero without a hint of a stain of impropriety, treated like a common gangster. 'Desperately sad,' said Alistair Campbell. 'Sad for politics,' he added.

He was right of course. It was very sad for politics. Blunkett's hastily convened press conference was nigh on tragic. It took a while for him to arrive at the Foreign Press Association - long enough for BBC cameramen to demonstrate how capably they could zoom in on each of the attractive women in the room - but when he got behind that podium he was a blur of excuse-making and blame-ducking.

Had he done wrong, he asked himself. Was he at fault in deliberately not following government process and checking in with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments before taking on the directorship of DNA Bioscience - the bioscience closest to his heart? Yes, he admitted. He was. But then again, not really, because he didn't actually *know* he was doing wrong, despite being reminded three times. 'It was the same fault on three occasions arising from the same misunderstanding by me,' he explained, heroically. The fault arose from his confusion over this whole code of conduct thing. Frankly speaking, he hasn't got time for all that small print mumbojumbo and gobbledegook. He's a simple Northern man. Speaks as he finds.

Was he wrong then, to buy 15,000 worth of shares in the same company, the day he took the directorship? Of course not. Nothing wrong with a passionate socialist making nest-lining investments, just so long as he declares them, which he did. All strictly legit. As to the question of investing in a company which may soon be bidding for a hefty government contract, again, no question. 'I have not made any representations to any government department or agency on behalf of DNA Bioscience since returning to government,' he declared. But now that he's back out, once again it's open season.

The one other notable point about Blunkett's farewell speech was how he attacked the press, suggesting that they were in some way wrong to show such interest in him - this man who has in the last year become some kind of twisted cross between Nick Griffin, Richard Nixon and Warren Beatty. 'I make no grumble,' he grumbled. But he'd have to be mad not to understand why there are photographers permanently camped outside his various houses.

At the end of the day, David Blunkett is a corrupt man. A self-centred, money-grubbing liar, interested in personal gain and very little else. Even Alistair Campbell was prepared to admit that 'he's done things he shouldn't have done.' However, 'He'll still be a friend of mine,' he added, 'and will still have a lot of friends in the Labour party.'

Ugh. Is it really possible that David Blunkett will become the first politician ever to resign from a cabinet post three times in two years?

Yes. It is.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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