Monday 17 December 2007

Please help me I'm falling ...

I find myself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with John Major - the last Conservative Government, having been in power too long and with too many front benchers who overpowered their opponents for too long, became complacent, arrogant, greedy and corrupt - as individuals.

There were people in that party who broke the law - some of them went to jail, as politicians who break the law should - and there were others who appeared to think that the rules - the rules of the institution they were members of, the rules of politics, and the rules of common decency - didn't apply to them. That government found itself in the gutter and it collapsed into nothingness in 1997, there's an argument that it would have been better all round had it collapsed in 1992. At the end, Major found himself nostril deep in the crap, but those few who dragged Major's Government into the gutter (only a few) acted on their own.

The vicious dishonesty of the Labour party since 1997 has far outreached anything that went on under Major. There has been an organisation to the gutter in this instance, taking money into the Labour party, into the corporation of Labour, in a way unheard of before - an organisation of base corruption from the petty and the cheap to the extremes.

The list is enormous, but a few aides memoire; Ecclestone, Hinduja, Mandelson's loans, Lanarkshire Red Rose Dinners, Swan Hunter, Blunkett's amour, cash for access, cash for honours, David Abrahams, Wendy Alexander. It's organised cash-gathering, it's the political equivalent of racket-running, it's absolutely dishonest, and it has to end. From local government to UK government, the Labour party is rotten and rotting - and that's a crying shame for a party that came from a proud tradition.

The Sunday Times carried another tale this week about a Labour practice of diverting public funds into Labour campaigning. Incredibly, if you speak to a Labour party member they can see nothing wrong with this low-level, ignorant and casual corruption - the corruption is endemic as well as systemic. From sneaking a few hundred quid in under the radar to channelling millions the attitude equates to an attitude of "the law does not apply to Labour".

There's immorality and illegality walking hand-in-hand there, and blind eyes are swivelling in their sockets. Labour's Scottish leadership has admitted illegal practices - Wendy Alexander has admitted breaking the law - why can they not just resign now, get out of the way, let their party rebuild itself, and let Scottish politics get back to politics?

There is currently, of course, a chorus of "you lot are at it" with allegations being made that Alex Salmond did not play strictly by the rules over the Trump proposed £1 billion investment in the North East. This has, of course, proven to be flannel, as even Scottish Tory Boy has said - not only has there been no wrongdoing proven, the accusers cannot even decide what wrongdoing they want to look for - as shown by Nicol Stephen in the interview with Glenn Campbell.

Nicol Stephen's latest attempt to try to make this a story by demanding that Parliament sets up a commission to examine the issue (how many commissions does Nicol Stephen want?) is, as has been said elsewhere, making him look ridiculous, but I say it's worse than that.

I say that anyone who wants a motion in Parliament to instruct the Corporate body to set up a commission to investigate something within the power of the Scottish Government and calls on the Government to hand over papers and suchlike does not understand the scope of government, considering that Salmond has already said that he met the Trump supporters and opponents in the course of his duties as an MSP rather than as First Minister. Considering that Nicol Stephen was part of the coalition government for the first eight years of devolution it's a bit worrying that he doesn't know where government ends and MSP duties begin.

It's more worrying, though, that a trained lawyer who was in government for eight years and is a senior MSP can submit a motion of that nature - it suggests an ignorance of the Scotland Act, either through not reading it or not understanding it.

Can we get back to politics now?

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