The intervention of Knacker of the Yard was inevitable given the clear evidence of offences having been committed under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. The mere fact of his intervention further disgraces an already disgraced Labour Party which this year became the first party to have a Prime Minister interviewed by Police in connection with a criminal enquiry. To have one police enquiry, Mr. Brown, may be regarded as a misfortune; to have two looks like carelessness.
Whilst, on present information, it is unlikely that Gordon Brown will have his collar felt for an interview under caution, there must be reasonable chance that he will be interviewed as a witness. This makes Labour’s holding of the Premiership resemble the old joke about London’s buses: you wait for 286 years for a Prime Minister to be interviewed by the Police and then two come along at once.
One puzzle as yet is how the MSM media has failed to absorb the timescale of this piece of sleaze: the timescale that is that puts most of the secret donating of the curious Mr. Abrahams into the periods of office of one Mr. Tony Blair and one Lord “Cashpoint” Levy, the “Tennis Partners”. Of these it is pertinent to ask some questions:
- Given Mr. Abrahams’ privileged ringside seat at Blair’s leaving jamboree at his constituency in June, how well did Blair know Mr. Abrahams?
- Has Mr. Abrahams ever made a donation to Tony Blair as PM or as MP or to his Constituency Party?
- Given Lord Levy’s connection to Labour Friends of Israel with which both Mr. Abrahams and Mr. Mendelsohn (Levy’s moolah-raising successor) are also strongly connected, has Lord Levy had anything to do with the donations to Labour secretly made between January 2003 (or even before) and June 2007?
- Did Lord Levy know Mr. Ruddick, Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Kidd or Mr. Mccarthy?
- Given that this quartet gave £331,000 or so to Labour between 2003 and 2007, what enquiries did Lord Levy make about them?
- If he made no such enquiries, why not, given the substantial size of the donations involved?
- Who was it from the Blair fundraising team that apprised Mr. Peter Watt of the facts of Mr. Abrahams’ nefarious donations?
We now know rather more about the curious Mr. Abrahams than we did at the outset. The Daily Mail today has some interesting photographs of him doing the groupie thing with various Labour rodents such as Paul Boateng (now, despite any obvious qualifications as a diplomat, our High Commissioner to South Africa), Jacqui Smith (now, despite any obvious qualifications for anything terribly much, our Home Secretary), Sleazocrat Peter Mandelson (he of the dodgy mortgage and the iffy Hinduja passport application), Peter Watt (disgraced and recently resigned general Secetary of the Labour Party) and Vanity Blair himself. Just how many other Rodents he was chums with will doubtless come out of the sewers with the rest of the flotsam and jetsam in the days and weeks to come.
It is also said that the Durham Plod are taking an active interest in the business park which was promoted by Mr. Abrahams and which was the subject first of a planning refusal and then of planning consent: doubtless they are wondering if there was any connection between the donations and the unlocking of the application.
Talking of planning applications, both Guido Fawkes (“Property Developer Gets Local Labour MP Stephen Ladyman’s Backing After £25,000 Donation”) and Dizzy Thinks (“Some more Friends in the North (East)”) take flyers at interesting connections between those with planning applications outstanding and donations made to MPs for the area within which the applications were made. Doubtless there is some wholly innocent explanation to these unfortunate and regrettable coincidences, but perhaps we should be told what that explanation is? And perhaps Inspector Knacker ought to add these to his portfolio………
Have some pity for Inspector Knacker. I have been rooting round the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 wearing my hat as someone who has practised in the criminal courts for thirty years and am less than impressed with the Act as a work of draftmanship.
One is bound to make the observation that, although there is a clear and simple prima facie case to be explored against various individuals under Section 54 (7) of the Act, I have to confess that this Act is one of the biggest dog’s dinners I have ever seen in terms of well- or poorly-drafted Acts of Parliament. It is quite simply a nightmare to navigate one’s way round and has all the clarity of a slurry pond. Now that is not to offer any defence or mitigation to those who may yet be formed up at The Bailey to answer for their sins, but when, as seems inevitable, this Act has to be amended in the light of current problems, it is to be hoped that the work will be carried out by a Parliamentary Draftsman rather than some Intern in Labour’s Gimcrack Gimmicks and Gadgets Department.
I turn now to the curious business of Gordon Brown’s fundraiser, Mr. Jon Mendelsohn. He became aware after taking up his post of the arrangements whereby Mr. Abrahams was making unlawful and prima facie criminal donations to the Labour Party and candidates for the Labour Deputy Leadership. Frankly, in the light of the letter he wrote to Mr. Abrahams, his explanation of his conduct is simply utterly unbelievable.
But if his claims are to be believed (pass me a pinch of salt now, please) is it not a testament to the methods and culture of Rodentine Labour that he sat on the matter for two months and only when there was a whiff of political warfarin in the air did he then write his curious little billet doux to Mr. Abrahams instead of drawing the matter to the attention of the Electoral Commission?
While we are on the subject of Mr. Mendelsohn, he it was who gave £5,000 to the Deputy leadership campaign of Peter Hain. This donation was never reported to the Electoral Commission. It might be helpful if Mr. Mendelsohn and Mr. Hain explained how this could happen, given that Mr. Mendelsohn has been chosen as Labour’s fundraiser, which imports the notion that one of qualifications to be such must have been a knowledge of the basic nuts and bolts of reporting such donations. Did he not check as he was reviewing the fundraising scene on first taking over whether his generous lump of moolah figured in the returns?
One is heavily struck by the thought that, given all these shenanigans and that of Gordon Brown’s Scottish Vicarette on Earth in Scotland also having been caught out in a donations scandal that may also be the subject of an enquiry by Inspector McKnacker, how very much this is an egregious example of Labour’s instinctive “Do as I say, Not do as I do” culture and the sense that as far as the PPERA 2000 is concerned, they may (as they continuously trumpet) have introduced the legislation but they sure as hell do not intend to obey it come hell or high water.
I have two other observations to make.
Firstly the determination with which individual news anchors and reporters for the MSM, BBC. Sky and elsewhere seem absolutely determined to miminise the seriousness of what, after all, are allegations of crimes, by giving every opportunity to the likes of Michael White of the Guardian to say how much this is all a storm in a teacup. Never has the blogosphere been more needed than when the MSM acts in this way so that we can ask some of the germane questions which the broadcast media’s Rodent Lovers seem bent on not asking.
Secondly does anyone else find it sinister that Jacqui Smith has chosen today as the day when we need to be terrorised by the threat of a ‘dirty bomb’ attack? SKY News has been carrying her doom-laden thoughts along with pictures of decontamination exercises in London: am I just being too cynical in wondering if this is a straightforward Goebbels-like attempt to bump the Donorgate Scandal off the top spot in the news logs? Nothing like the thought of London being irradiated to bury a bit of bad news, is there?
A thought about Mr. Bean. I have been much struck by his body-language this week. I have made the comparison of him to a Dancing Bear, which remains valid. But I have been fascinated by the thought that he actually seems, in his Press Conference, for example, to be utterly bewildered by all the attacks coming in from every side and is unable to comprehend just how he has managed to foul up his Premiership in just five months. He really does look out of his depth, not least, perhaps, because, having been so long unchallenged Monarch of the Glen, he has never really had to mix it in a fight of this magnitude before. It probably does not help that he is a coward to boot.
Lastly, all should remember that, when the objects of Inspector Knacker’s attentions bleat that they did not realise any of this stuff was illegal, not to say criminal, ignorance of the law is no defence to a criminal charge.
By the by, I hear the sound of yet another expenses scandal involving one of Blair’s Babes about to surface in relation to a failure to register substantial sums of sponsorship in the Register of Intersts. of this more soon.
UPDATE: Michael White is now in The Daily Politics studio, again trying to rubbish the Donorgate Story. Plainly the Left has really got the wind up if it is making this sort of effort.