Monday, March 06, 2006

More on Jowell

On the Today program this morning, the Jowell affair burbled on, without much in the way of new information, but plenty of comment. Michael Heseltine was asked about it and said that, unlike the Labour Party did in opposition, he wasn't about to rule on private behaviour. Glenda Jackson, on the other hand, said that Jowell should go, and even said that she was 'laundering great washes of money' (isn't this libel?).

Margaret Beckett then came on and, in a spirited defence of Jowell, said that there was no proof that anything illegal had happened, and that therefore all of the attention was from the press trying to damage the Government. To those of us with tediously long political memories, this was reminiscent of John Major - 'who decides who should be a minister - the Prime Minister or the editor of the Daily Mail?' - and we all know the answer to that.

But in any case, is this really the standard of behaviour that Ministers of the Crown have to uphold? Don't do anything that is clearly against the law? That it? Looking back to those dark days of the mid-90s when getting on for a score of Tory minsters resigned - how many had done anything illegal? As far as I recall, it was mainly sex - which even this Government haven't managed to ban. In this Government, on the other hand, every scandal since Cook has been about money.

I was reminded this weekend of the ban on advertising smoking, with its Formula 1 exception. Who was the minister who made the ruling that Formula 1 should be exempted? One Tessa Jowell. And can you name the lawyer brought in to advise the Formula 1 team on the best way to obtain this exemption? David Mills. That smell is getting stronger.


Blogger Bel said...

Good post. I have just seen Andy Burnham on the Daily Politics talking utter nonsense. He was basically saying that abiding by the Ministerial Code is a matter of interpretation by the minister. So if a minister feels that something should not be declared, then that judgement should not be held against him or her. In other words, there is no objective standard for determining whether the Code has been breached or not. If that is the case, then they should scrap the Code. It is worth nothing.

12:36 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

Exactly - if the code can only be examined by asking the minister in question whether or not they have breached it - and then accepting their answer, it's of no use as a method of upholding conduct, and of little more as a figleaf - since it is so obviously toothless

12:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Tessa's 2003 Communications Bill?

Deregulating ownership of UK media - surely of no interest to anyone I'm sure, and certainly not to well known media baron Berlesconi?

And I have heard elsewhere that the SFO (which was once investigating and indeed raided the offices of the undoubtedly innocent Mr Mills) was actually run by his sister(in law), Barbara! Mr Mill's sister was also the former director of Public Prosecutions.

Family gettogethers must be fascinating.

1:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for clarification, I'm sure there has been no wrong-doing whatsoever on the part of anyone concerned.

1:55 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

And people say Berlusconi is the unacceptable face of crony capitalism!

2:20 pm  

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