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Blunkett’s fall will mean far less that it seems

If David Blunkett falls from office because of his shenanigans between the sheets, I do hope that civil rights activists will not see this as a sign from God (be it Cthuhlu or whoever) that the truly perilous state in which British liberty stands is about to take a turn for the better.

Nothing Blunkett has ever done was done under his authority alone. The accelerating rate at which common law is set aside and ancient liberties debased have been the product of decades of antipathy to non-collectivist rights and individual liberty, a process which was well under way when David Blunkett’s Tory predecessor was in power: would-be future Prime Minister Michael ‘a touch of the night’ Howard.

The fall of a ringwraith might be cause for some brief rejoicing (I will certainly be raising a glass or two that day!) but please remember there are plenty more where he came from. Sauron lives at Number 10 Downing Street, not in the office of the Home Secretary.

50 comments to Blunkett’s fall will mean far less that it seems

  • I was wondering when you were going to get round to “Big Blunkett’s” tribulations!

    Actually I think it will make a difference if he goes and it will be well worth celebrating. It’s one thing to say that Blair is behind this creeping authoritarianism but Blunkett is the guy who pushed it through, and probably further than Blair dared dream was possible. I can’t imagine a successor who would be as enthusiastic, or indeed arrogant – his behaviour during and after this affair is of a piece with his behaviour in office – as he. Blunkett is probably the worst Home secretary ever and that by some distance.

  • tjm

    Blunkett’s scandals are a perfect opportunity for the no2id campaign. The argument has always been that id cards are wide open to abuse – and this personalises it. The government has been saying “trust us”, and this episode demonstrates that we can’t trust them not to abuse the powers they already have, much less trust them with new powers. Given a national id database, why would we doubt that Blunkett would be happy to snoop around in that to do favours for his lover?

  • mike

    If Sauron lurks in the darkness of 10 Downing St, who is playing the role of the treacherous Saruman? Surely the real Sauron lurks deep within the folds of the EU, while Blair is merely the wizard of many colours.

    But, where are Frodo and Sam…?

  • Snide

    Saruman = Chris Patten

  • Adhib

    Can’t get excited about this. The Bleagh revolution relied on just such exposés to demoralise Tory voters. More sleaze at the top puts another tranche of people off politics. Fewer politically active citizens, of whatever persuasion, leaves more unclaimed political terrain for the bureaucracy to stake out.

    So the only libertarian option, ‘sfar as I can see, is to say – ‘Of course the old bugger used his position to impress the birds, who wouldn’t? If you think that’s a matter of national importance, you’re no more liberal than he is.’

    Adhib

  • Frodo (or maybe it is Legolis) is currently on the payroll at the London Telegraph (or so it seems from this side of the pond).

    How the birthplace of common-law let so many rights slip away is a mystery. Good luck getting your rights back. Governments don’t like to go backwards when it comes to control. (Look at the whole hunting issue – it is one of control, nothing more and nothing less.)

  • Susan

    Blunkett appears to be nuttier than a brace of pecan pies. He makes the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction look perfectly sane. I never want to hear a Brit make fun of America’s lonnier politicans ever again. This guy and that child abuser woman who’s Secretary of Children’s Affairs or some such equal our worst and then some.

  • craggy_steve

    Adhib, sleaze is one issue, the now established fact that Blunkett cuckolded Stephen Quinn nine months into his marriage is deplorable and relevant because Blunkett seeks to impose his views upon us and we now find that his views are the views of a man whom many would say is immoral.

    Far more to the point is that the man appears to have abused the power granted to him by us for his own personal gain, in this case propping up his illicit relationship at our expense. There is no difference between his alledged behaviour and someone who entertains their mistress on their employers expense account, and while I’m the employer I don’t want Blunkett stealing from me.

    As a libertarian, my view would be that Blunkett’s private life is his own affair, but as a UK subject I see it is a part of his political persona, if he deviates from the established norms that achieve peaceful coexistence with his fellow men then his judgement is to be questioned, and if he starts using state resourcs for his own personal gain then his judgement moves beyond questionable into simply wrong.

    Blunkett, like all politicians, has chosen to operate in public by his own free will, so he can either behave in a way which public scrutiny will endorse, or withdraw from public life, his choice.

    Perry is of course correct, if Blunkett goes another fluffy bunny will duly be pulled out of the hat.

  • Verity

    Even for Labour, Blunkett’s destructive arrogance is breathtaking. Had he not forced this private issue into the limelight, Mr Quinn would have accepted those two boys as his own. They would have been a family. Now that family will always have an unsettled, ragged edge to it with Blunkett lurking in the closets and twitching behind the curtains. He has no interest in the welfare of those two children. Mr Quinn certainly has the means to provide for them. But Blunkett wanted the world to be alerted to the fact that there are two new Blunketts and, under the guise of “caring” he has wrecked a family. Of course, he is only personalising Labour’s determination to involve itself in every family in Britain. I think this confused individual actually sees his actions as rather praiseworthy.

    Blunkett breached American security by letting Mrs Quinn’s parents know Newark Airport was going to be closed on the day they would be travelling … He “looked over” Mrs Quinn’s application for a visa for her nanny. As someone pointed out in The Telegraph today, visa applications are worded simply, to be understood by people whose first language is not English. Does he expect anyone to believe he thought Mrs Quinn may not have been able to follow the instructions? And how could he “look it over” when he is blind? Did he have someone in his department translate it into Braille for him? Or did he ask one of his assistants to look it over? Or did he even bother to “look it over”, the whole point being to let the Immigration Dept know that the Home Secretary was taking a personal interest in this? Given Peter Mandelson’s facilitating ol’ Reinaldo’s visa, and another Blair minister getting British citizenship for Labour Party contributors the Hindujah Bros, it’s deja vu all over again.

    Blunkett is the true face of socialism and local council backroom dealings. He’s the true face of the Labour Party.

  • mike

    What Verity said! Obviously Blunkett was guilty of er, overlooking the consequences of his actions!

    :->

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I fully share Perry’s caution, but the scandal does remind us of how politicians can misuse powers, and the sort of power over information which a national ID database would make possible.

    The case for ID cards has received a small, but palpable hit.

  • GCooper

    I’m in complete agreement with those earlier posters disgusted both by Blunkett’s behaviour over his affair and his ferocious disembowelling of the traditional freedoms enjoyed in this country.

    Though I agree with Perry de Havilland that even if he is toppled (which I happen to think unlikely, Bliar having resorted to his endless list of civil service whitewash appliers to remedy the matter) I do think that every scalp taken from this arrogant pack of totalitarians is worth a cheer.

    Disturbingly, however, BBC radio claims that the Tories don’t seem to have their hearts in removing Blunkett from office and I see no reason, for once, to disbelieve the corporation. What on earth is wrong with this pathetic excuse for an opposition?

    There are at least half a dozen members of the cabinet whose heads should be on pikestaffs on London Bridge at this point and who, in the normal course of parliamentary cut and thrust would have been hounded from office.

    This failure isn’t Labour’s alone. The spineless, feckless Tories are also culpable. They’ve let the bastards get away with too much.

  • UnknownSage

    You know, with your “common law & ancient liberties” nonsense, I think I’m going to have to stop reading your site for the sake of my blood pressure. The British past, like everybody else’s past, was HELL. Common law is one of the worst legal systems in the world, created by Henry VIII by decapitating the local English version of the medieval Ius Commune; & freedom is something that we may hope to enhance in the future, but which the past certainly doesn’t illustrate for us.

  • UnknownSage

    You know, with your “common law & ancient liberties” nonsense, I think I’m going to have to stop reading your site for the sake of my blood pressure. The British past, like everybody else’s past, was HELL. Common law is one of the worst legal systems in the world, created by Henry VIII by decapitating the local English version of the medieval Ius Commune; & freedom is something that we may hope to enhance in the future, but which the past certainly doesn’t illustrate for us.

  • GCooper

    UnknownSage writes:

    “..freedom is something that we may hope to enhance in the future, but which the past certainly doesn’t illustrate for us.”

    Are you seriously trying to suggest that a Briton today has more freedom from government dictat than he or she had, say, 100 years ago?

    Of course, it is perfectly possible that someone posting from a BBC address might actually think that. Quite likely, in fact…

  • Verity

    Sadly, I agree with G Cooper. Blair will, yet again, show his contempt for the electorate by stonewalling this absolutely outrageous – not to say unstable – behaviour of a government minister. I wonder which judge is next up in this Take-A-Number judiciary in Britain. Lord Hutton can give whoever’s turn it is to head an enquiry some good tips on the use of whitewash.

    And, what on earth is wrong with the Tories? Michael Howard should have gone right in with a rapier and disembowelled Blunkett before he had a chance to shove his guide dog in front of him to take the hit. (You think he wouldn’t?) If they are frightened of Blair, that is like the Tin Man, the Straw Man and the Lion quaking before the Wizard of Oz. Blair is nothing more than a puff of smoke. We need a Toto to pull back the curtain!

  • Tim Sturm

    Verity

    You have a delightful way with words. :-)

    I might also ask where is the BBC? If it had been a Tory minister he would have been torn to shreds by this time.

  • Julian Taylor

    A very good point Tim.

    As we have seen in the past few weeks a Tory can be removed from the shadow cabinet on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence about an affair, or even making untimely remarks about scousers. I suspect that Blunkett could run naked down Victoria Street and repeatedly rape the nearest tourist, yet Phoney would still support him.

    By the way – Gordon Brown ‘lives’ in Number 10 – Phoney and his dreadful brood reside in Number 11.

  • Verity

    Susan made a canny connection between Blunkett’s reckless, obsessive behaviour and Fatal Attraction. Craggy_Steve thinks Blair will just pull another fluffy bunny out of the hat. If he does so, Blunkett should boil it.

    Julian Taylor, I wonder why you said that Brown ‘lives’ (in quotation marks) at No 10. It makes him sound ghoulish. Oh, wait a minute ….

  • Adhib

    Craggy Steve, I hear you, but it’s that preoccupation with morality that gives me the creeps. I want to elect representatives on the basis of their politics, and I want them to be accountable to the electorate on the basis of their success at realising those politics. Once you make their character and private behaviour an issue, you’re heading off into personality cultism, seems to me, and who runs the country becomes a contest not much dissimilar to who wins in the Big Brother house. Come to think of it …

  • UnknownSage

    Yes, of course I think that the average “Briton” is freer of government or other interference now than s/he was 100 years ago. As a person whose non-English ethnicity & non-Christian religion are very important to him, as an opponent of bloodsports, above all as a lifelong republican, my views & “lifestyle” would have been unacceptable in Britain even in the 1950s. I would have been “interfered with” big-time, probably accused of treason – certainly I would have received hate-mail.

    I am a computer technician with the BBC, which has been a good employer to me for several years now. Of course I disagree strongly with the reflexively anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-religious, pro-sexual & socialist opinions of many BBC journalists. Such people tend to be cleverer people than I am, & I’m in no position to criticise them cogently, but you may as well know that tend not to agree with them nevertheless.

  • craggy_steve

    >> I hear you, but it’s that preoccupation with morality that gives me the creeps.

    I think we’re getting better at this as a nation, Blunkett’s liaison didn’t hit the public domain until the allegations were made that he abused his office to support that liaison, so we obviously weren’t overly concerned about the immorality of his affair. But now that we have a ‘crime’, all character information is admissible in passing judgement:- we have moved beyond morality and into petty dishonesty, where wrongness is beyond dispute, if it occurred then it is fact that is was wrong. I was disappointed at Boris Johnson’s treatment, but perhaps that was for lying, I am not disappointed in Blunkett’s case, because he is being accused of misappropriating state resources for his own gain, clear theft, that the alledged crimes were committed in support of an illicit relationship is incidental but damning.

    >> I want to elect representatives on the basis of their politics, and I want them to be accountable to the electorate on the basis of their success at realising those politics.

    Agreed, but it doesn’t work like that. Which of us were informed that the government intended to introduce ID cards, suspend Trial by Jury, Diminish the 2nd chamber instead of replacing it, and hundreds of other policies. These policies form their politics, they didn’t tell us in the run up to the election that they wanted to do these things, and they wouldn’t have been elected if they had done. Perry damned the Tories as ‘Intellectually Bankrupt’, and they are, their proposed actions will clearly fail to deliver their stated political objectives, and they know it but they haven’t got the vision to deliver better proposals. I would equally damn Labour as ‘Institutionally Dishonest’ because they have sold themselves to us on one set of policies, and delivered another. This behaviour won’t change until they are called to account for their lack of honesty, and I think we must take all opportunities to examine and question their honesty until they get the message.

  • Johnathan:

    the scandal does remind us of how politicians can misuse powers

    I don’t mind them ‘misusing’ powers so long as it is consistent with promoting liberty. Helping this Phillipino woman circumvent the visa restrictions certainly enhanced her liberty considerably so I’ve no argument with that.

    Libertarians need not be concerned with the private little things that the politicians try to hide and cover up. What we object to are the big things that they openly boast about, the allegedly ‘legitimate’ uses of their power are what concerns me.

    Verity is also wrong to chide Blunkett for insisting on being recognised as the true parent of Kimberly Quinn’s children. This Quinn woman was trying to perpetrate a fraud on her cuckolded husband and trick him out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in child support over the years on the basis of a lie. He has a right to know that the children are not his. If he chooses to support them anyway, so much the better, but he has a right to the truth and Blunket was right to insist that the truth be known.

  • Sauron lives at Number 10 Downing Street, not in the office of the Home Secretary.

    You’re wrong. Sauron lives in the hearts of a great many British people. As I wrote some time ago:

    [The British] are happiest when they are curbing someone else’s freedoms, freedoms such as: smoking cannabis, hunting foxes, driving down streets where other people live (of course, the people who live there still want to drive past other people’s houses), owning many categories of firearms, driving at 71 mph on an empty motorway, painting one’s house the wrong colour or putting up an extension, opening a brothel, being gay and publicly displayinmg affection, soliciting for sex, putting up a sattelite dish, going unclothed on a beach …

    That’s why there’s been so little fuss about the Civil Contingencies Act — people just don’t care.

  • Verity

    Paul Coulam, How interesting that you are privy to the secrets of Mr and Mrs Quinn’s bedroom!

    Does he have “a right” to know that the children are not his? I’m not even sure of that. The children will now grow up knowing that the man they call father is not their father. I think that is robbing them of a very precious and important aspect of their growing up.

    In any event, from what I have read, Mr Quinn was aware that neither child is his, biologically speaking, and still wanted them within the family and wanted to bring them up as his own. And he can well afford to do so. Mr Quinn may have been cuckolded, but he is neither a mean-spirited nor a fool.

    So it wasn’t that Blunkett was concerned about the children’s wellbeing. It was that he wasn’t being acknowledged that he couldn’t stand. Plus he wants to wreck that marriage and that family so he can have Mrs Quinn. In his dreams! Blunkett is a very nasty piece of work.

    Blunkett broke the law over the Filippina. Home secretaries breaking laws for whose enforcement they are responsible (Home Secretary) gives me the personal creeps and does not enhance liberty, as you claim.

    Sly and sleazy as ever, Blunkett has now appointed his own investigator who will, of course, measure up to Lord Hutton in neutrality and lack of interest in preferment when the Honours List rolls round. Sly and sleazy as ever, he is setting the terms: the investigatation is to be limited to only the Filippina nanny scandal.

    Using the car provided by the taxpayers for official business to ferry his girlfriend around isn’t to be addressed – unless the Tories can force it and I’m not holding my breath. Giving her railway tickets that MPs are given for wives travelling to the MP’s constituency is being swept under the carpet. After all, Mrs Quinn was a wife. Just not Blunkett’s.

    What I consider to be the most serious charge of all – the Filippina has no national implications and illuminates no more than we already knew about Labour’s manipulation of Britain’s immigration laws – that he told Mrs Quinn’s parents that Newark Airport was being closed (something to do with terrorism, although I don’t remember reading what) so avoid the inconvenience and fly from somewhere else.

    This was top American government anti-terrorist information and could have had important consequences if Quinn’s parents had talked about it – as I’m sure they did. Such information will not be readily shared with Britain again.

  • craggy_steve

    >> This Quinn woman was trying to perpetrate a fraud on her cuckolded husband and trick him out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in child support over the years on the basis of a lie.

    Paul, where did you get this information? The reports that I have seen published and not refuted say that the paternity test was at Blunkett’s forceful insistence because the child was said by third parties to resemble him, and that Mrs Quinn only consented to the paternity test to resolve the dispute, claiming that she believed the child was fathered by her husband.

    Personally I do mind misuse of powers, if politicians wish to promote liberty they can repeal illiberal legislation, the fact that they do not do so demonstrates their lack of interest in liberty. If they abuse their powers to promote liberty for individuals against the laws of the state then they are not promoting ‘liberty’ or libertarianism, they are promoting the interests of those select individuals above the rest of us, which seems to be to be entirely inconsistent with libertarianisn, liberty granted to the few simply highlights the lack of liberty suffered by the rest of us. Politicians elected by us as representatives are not corporate executives, they may not legitimately act with prejudice or favour, they are our servants employed to serve each of us equally. Each action of prejudice or favour demonstrates that the system is broken, and each individual case fixed by exception mitigates against the need to repair the broken system for the benefit of all.

  • Verity

    Home secretaries breaking laws for whose enforcement they are responsible (Home Secretary) gives me the personal creeps

    It is this Home Secretary _upholding_ the law that concerns me.

    As for Mr and Mrs Quinn, according to the reports in the papers, until Blunkett lodged his paternity caim Mr Quinn was unaware that the children weren’t his. Many men are tricked by their unfaithful wives into raising children that aren’t theirs. It is fraud pure and simple. Whatever Blunkett’s motives in lodging his paternity suit it is good that Mr. Quinn and the two children know what sort of a woman it is who they will be calling ‘wife’ and ‘mother’.

  • John Bercow was on the Daily Politics today, defending Blunkett from attacks on his character. Why the Tories are not all over this like a bad rash is beyond me. Blunkett is proving himself a huge hypocrite and deserves all the scorn that we can pour on him. The fact that he had an affair is not the issue, what he did during that affair is the issue. How long before w can expect to hear his defenders claim “its just about sex” ala Clinton?

  • Craggy:

    If they abuse their powers to promote liberty for individuals against the laws of the state then they are not promoting ‘liberty’ or libertarianism….

    So Oskar Schindler should not have ‘abused his powers’ to save the few Jews he could from the gas chambers but rather send them all to their deaths so as not to ‘highlight the lack of liberty suffered by the rest’ then?

  • Verity

    Paul Coulam – Well, people rarely accuse me of being tolerant, but I think in this instance, how does it add to the sum of human happiness for those children to know their mother was having it off with someone else shortly after she married and the man bringing them up is not their biological father?

    The Quinns are a family and, hard as it is for a socialist to understand this, families are private. He had no right to wreck this one by smearing his ego all over it. He’s a cad, and vicious with it.

    Mrs Quinn does not sound like a barrel of laughs. Selfish and disloyal may be the words I’m looking for. But why is Blunkett making the husband and children suffer? Hell hath no fury like a jerk scorned.

    Anyway, the cat being out of the bag, I am looking forward to Mrs Quinn’s further revelations, of which I am sure there will be several.

  • how does it add to the sum of human happiness for those children to know their mother was having it off with someone else……

    I never took you to be a defender of what is called in the trade ‘Act Utilitarianism’.

    More important than happiness born of delusion is truth and honesty. Now that the truth is out the Quinn family can choose to forgive Kimberly’s misbehaviour – much better than living a lie.

    You are quite right that Blunkett is a cad though.

  • Adhib

    Craggy Steve – I don’t follow your logical steps on the admissibility of character judgements, there. It still looks to me like you’re hoping to hold Blunkett to account for Mrs Quinn’s free choices in the case – I entirely sympathize with Blunkett hatred, but to adopt his methods to defeat him is to lose the fight. Also, I’d be more reluctant to be seen taking such a blanket moral stance on adultery – one which suggests scant tolerance for the many ways humans are permitted to differ from public norms in their private lives.

    On New Labour authoritarianism – I think it’s a bit rich claiming we didn’t know what they were offering in advance. I was an LM reader ten years ago when its cover story was ‘Why Labour would be even worse than the Tories’. (Feb 95). Editorial included: “Labour’s leader and his associates have the puritanical disposition of surburban little England at its worst, without a single libertarian bone in their bodies and with contempt for the irresponsible ‘underclass’ in their hearts. They want more controls on the press and less freedom of speech, more Christian values and fewer single mothers, more rules and more policemen in every corner of society. Tony Blair sees himself as a Sunday school teacher to a nation of naughty children.”

    If anything, it’s their eagerness to repress and nanny that has won them social approval. It would be best not to imagine that they are only in power by trickery.

  • Verity

    Mark Steyn, thou shoulds’t be with us at this hour!

    Please! Just this one, then you can go back on your r&r and we won’t bother you any more.

  • Pete_London

    Well well, Blunkett has owned up to giving the Quinn woman a first class train ticket (meant for spouses only). Its ok though, he’s apologised for his ‘honest mistake’ and paid back the cost. ‘Honest mistake’ = ‘I’ve been rumbled’ of course. Has anyone seen the press trying to get a quote from him in the last couple of days? Twice I’ve seen a camera and mic shoved under his nose and what has he bleated on both occasions?

    Please don’t harrass me.

    Ha! I’ll remember that the next time Plod pulls me over for doing 71mph on the M11.

  • craggy_steve

    >> It still looks to me like you’re hoping to hold Blunkett to account for Mrs Quinn’s free choices in the case – I entirely sympathize with Blunkett hatred,….

    Adhib,

    Of course Blunkett is only half responsible for the affair between he & Mrs. Quinn, but that half he has made open to question by involving it in the execution of his public office, he is not a victim of the affair, he is one of its proponents. While it was private it was his affair, inadmissable, but it magnifies the crime of his theft from the state that he stole to support an affair of which many would not approve and which is disapproved of and discouraged by the codes that people live by in most societies, including ours, because it is a type of behaviour that commonly causes suffering to others. If he had misappropriated those same state resources to help a suffering individual in need then the compassion shown would have mitigated his crime, it would be a crime nonetheless, but one committed with good intent. Personally I don’t hate Blunkett, I hate the policies he is involved in promoting.

    The opinion of LM in ’95 merely made it farsighted. It does not change the fact that Labour’s pre-election rhetoric and post election actions are widely disparate, or we would not be routinely condemning them for legislation which significantly differs from the objectives that they promised to pursue. The Tories are promising policies which I and others say will not achieve their claimed objectives, but at the moment we can only judge them on their promises, when their actions fail to deliver on or contradict those promises, as has been the case with Labour. Perhaps you could re-read their manifesto and pre-election blurb and then tell me where they offer to repress civil liberties, implement actions shown elsewhere to increase crime, state that they will increase the tax burden etc., all of which they have achieved through their actions.

    Most of us on posting here are cynical about government, that’s part of why we’re here, but our cynicism doesn’t mean that we forfeit our right for to expect candidate governments to be truthful and honest about their intentions or to expect their individual members to be truthful and honest.

  • craggy_steve

    >> So Oskar Schindler should not have ‘abused his powers’

    Correct me if I’m wrong because I don’t know his story in great detail but my understanding is that Schindler was an industrialist, in some ways unscrupulous in the development of his business, remained close to the Nazis for the furtherance of his business, but not at any time a government minister or elected politician. He did not abuse powers granted him by the people, because he never had any such powers. His power was derived from the wealth and influence he generated by creating a successful business.

    As I said in my earlier post “Politicians elected by us as representatives are not corporate executives, they may not legitimately act with prejudice or favour, they are our servants employed to serve each of us equally.” Schindler was a corporate executive, he was perfectly entitled to act as he did and to expect to suffer the consequences if he was discovered. Politicians, because they make the law and have the power to change it, are emburdened with a special responsibility to act within it or change it, to act outside it is to directly deny the responsibility they have to ensure that the law is “fair”, “just”, “proportionate” etc. etc.

  • Verity

    Pete – “Well well, Blunkett has owned up to giving the Quinn woman a first class train ticket (meant for spouses only).”

    But she is a spouse! Stephen Quinn’s.

    Blunkett and the NuLab Mafia are doing the normal fix-up. The “enquiry” (oops!, I just fell on the floor laughing! I’ll be OK in a minute) is to be limited to the assistance with the Filippina nanny and now he has admitted the train ticket fudge, but it’s OK because now he’s been caught, he’s paid the taxpayers their money back.

    But where is the investigation of him telling Mrs Quinn’s parents that Newark Airport was going to be closed so avoid booking through it. This was terrorist information that he, as a top government minister, was privy to. I find it horrifying that he was passing it on to impress his girlfriend’s parents. Where is the investigation into this grave allegation?

  • craggy_steve

    >> Why the Tories are not all over this like a bad rash is beyond me

    Perhaps they recognise thier own guilt – “there but for the grace of god….”

    If the Tories declare open season they will get plenty of flak back!

  • GCooper

    UnknownSage writes:

    “As a person whose non-English ethnicity & non-Christian religion are very important to him, as an opponent of bloodsports, above all as a lifelong republican, my views & “lifestyle” would have been unacceptable in Britain even in the 1950s. I would have been “interfered with” big-time, probably accused of treason – certainly I would have received hate-mail.”

    I think your radical opinions are distorting your understanding of history. While your opinions might well have led to unpopularity, even notoriety, they were far from illegal and, in fact, quite widely held. Think where it was that Marx and Engels did their work. You are confusing social acceptability with illegality.

    It is only in the very recent past that we have had threats to habeus corpus the very real prospect of double jeopardy trials and the reintroduction of identity cards when the country is not at war – 100 years ago anyone suggesting such a thing would have been hounded from office.

    Our basic, fundamental freedoms are under threat as never before and I’m afraid the acceptability or otherwise of your “lifestyle” has no bearing on the matter.

  • GCooper

    I’m, rather surprised in all this talk of the rights and wrongs of Blunkett’s behaviour, to see so many people so scared of being thought illiberal that they step over the glaring issue of Blunkett’s judgement.

    Government ministers (and the Home Secretary in particular!) are not just given to pontificating about how we Hoi Polloi act in our personal lives, but they actually pass laws to constrain it. Moreover, the Home Secretary routinely makes day to day decisions about matters of security and policy based entirely on his personal judgement.

    So, yes, I’m sorry, I really do believe that someone who has proven himself constitutionally incapable of making good judgements in his personal life and who has proven that he is willing to deceive is absolutely unsuitable to be a government minister, because clearly he is neither an honest man nor one with good judgement.

  • Verity

    Wot G Cooper said. Plus, he gave information about an American airport closure to impress his girlfriend/his girlfriend’s parents. I cannot understand why more is not being made of this. His outrageous behaviour could have had serious consequences – and indeed still might if the Americans decide it isn’t safe to exchange sensitive information with the British government. For that alone, Blair should have fired him.

    Like others in the British cabinet, David Blunkett is a dangerous man to have in power.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “David Blunkett is a dangerous man to have in power.”

    Mercifully, not for much longer because it looks like the Daily Mail has got him bang to rights in tomorrow’s issue.

    And yes, that US security aspect was deeply worrying. One of many “indiscretions” from New Labour ministers which have been conveniently overlooked by a compliant media and supine opposition.

  • Verity

    The security thing is what exercises me most in all this, G Cooper. It is truly frightening that a minister of the Crown could compromise security – for the sake of showing off.

    Tony Bliar will not be surprised to learn that this has been noted in DC.

  • Adhib

    “Perhaps you could re-read their manifesto and pre-election blurb and then tell me where they offer to repress civil liberties, [etc]” – Craggy Steve

    1997:
    ‘New Labour is a party of ideas and ideals but not of outdated ideology. What counts is what works. The objectives are radical. The means will be modern’
    – read with alertness, you know what this means.

    ‘We are a broad-based movement for progress and justice. New Labour is the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole.’
    – patent fanaticism, which can brook no fetters to its power

    ‘7 We will help build strong families and strong communities, and lay the foundations of a modern welfare state in pensions and community care’
    – What role the state might have in such matters deserved reflection.

    2001:
    ‘Fourth, we will strengthen our communities. We will reform the criminal justice system at every level so that criminals are caught, punished and rehabilitated. And because we know that without tackling the causes of crime we will never tackle crime, we will empower local communities by combining resources with responsibility.’
    – Did you reflect on what these catchphrases mean to Blunkett and his cadres?

    ‘We will now:
    * overhaul sentencing so that persistent offending results in more severe punishment
    * reform custodial sentences so that every offender gets punishment and rehabilitation designed to minimise reoffending
    * reform rules of evidence to simplify trials and bring the guilty to justice
    * introduce specialist, late-sitting and review courts to reflect crime patterns and properly monitor offenders
    * establish a new Criminal Assets Recovery Agency to seize assets of crime barons and a register of dealers to tackle drugs
    * introduce a victims bill of rights providing legal rights to compensation, support and information’

    – in our language, a frontal assault on the presumption of innocence … I could go on, but this is probably getting too long.

    New Labour very publicly cut their anchor-line to their party faithful and the principles – such as individual rights – that such encumbrances tend to insist upon. You really can’t complain that this was underhand – it was the central cause of their rise to power.

  • Verity

    OK, G Cooper. So The Mail has evidence. Blunkett’s been caught red-handed and lying. So? Given that Tony Blair lies routinely, without even thinking about it and apparently not understanding that this is unforgivable, you do not think that is going to result in his resignation or him being sacked, do you?

    This will be one more example of his barefaced contempt for the electorate. They will stonewall this, the enquiry will find Blunkett blameless and Blunkett will remain a minister of the Crown.

  • GCooper

    Apologies to Verity for such a slow response – I have had a very silly day!

    I yield to no one in the contempt I have for Bliar and his Stalinist cohorts and, yes, I agree, there is every chance that Blunkett will manage to salvage his career through the usual device of a rigged, limited “enquiry” and Bliar’s reliance on bluffing it out for long enough for the media to lose interest.

    However, Bliar is such a little creep that he is perfectly willing to lay down his friends’ lives the moment he can gain some benefit from so doing. Forget the clueless Frank Dobson, think of darling Peter. If Bliar was willing to sacrifice Mandleson, Blunkett wouldn’t stand a hope in Hell if the evidence grew sufficiently strong to risk Teflon Tony’s glossy carapace.

    Am I optimistic? Not at all. But how I would love to see Blunkett fall!

  • Verity

    G Cooper – the press is letting them get away with an enquiry limited to this Filippina who, if she has her wits about her, or at least Max Clifford, already has a book deal in the works, when Blunkett’s malfeasances number:

    Yes, visa for the nanny within 19 days as opposed to the one year she was told to expect by Immigration might look suspicious to the untrained eye. BUT WE HAVE ALREADY TOLD YOU IT WASN’T FAST TRACKED!! So STFU! Mr Blunkett is both a fine man and a fine blind man. He has a fine guide dog.

    Mr Blunkett may have sent his car and driver to pick Mrs Quinn up and take her places and possibly deliver little billets to her, but he was going up that street anyway, so STFU! Mr Blunkett overcame many disabilities to get this job. Being blind. Being on Sheffield Council…

    Mr Blunkett did have senior Civil Servants sitting in on showdowns he had with his mistress (said Mrs Quinn, someone else’s wife), but they provided a calming and rational effect, thereby contributing to the Home Secretary’s mental wellbeing. Also, there was a chance that they may discuss government business on the way down in the elevator, so it was OK.

    Visa applications are worded in such a way as to be very simple for people who speak little English. Mr Blunkett feared that Spectator publisher Mrs Quinn may not have been able to follow the instructions for her nanny application. He therefore offered to “look over” the application to make sure she had understood all the questions correctly.

    Of course, he couldn’t actually ‘look it over’ in a literal sense as he can’t look anything lover, so obviously, he had some fine chaps in his department look it over. Or some equally fine chaps translate it into Braille for him. These fine chaps were in the employ of the British taxpayer.

    Mr Blunkett misunderstood the meaning of the word ‘spouse’ when giving Mrs Quinn railway tickets meant for MP’s spouses. He thought he could pass them to anyone, as long as they were someone’s spouse. The definition has since been explained to him and he has gladly and humbly paid 189 pounds back to the British taxpayer.

    Mr Blunkett heard, in his position of Home Secretary, that Newark Airport was to be closed because of a terrorist alert. There is absolutely no reason to keep this kind of information from the travelling public, and he naturally alerted Mrs Quinn’s parents who would be extremely impressed to have prior information of suspected terrorist activity.

    But other than the nanny visa, which story they have already concocted and agreed to, none of the above items is to be addressed in the “Enquiry” because the supine British press has allowed itself to be dictated to about what to cover once again.

    Why do they always cover up for Blair? I am sincerely interested in this question.

  • Adhib

    ‘Why do they always cover up for Blair?’

    Flippantly: Because until we get our shit together, Blair will remain the only Alpha male in town.

    Seriously: Because the lack of profound ideological difference, and hence of real political battle, makes it impossible to make anything stick. The BBC was the last lot to have a go … les autres are well and truly encouragé. Real criticism can only occur in the context of a real, viable alternative, with the social clout to shield the critics.

  • Verity

    Adhib – But why do they cover up for him? They’re all over the royal family, but No 10 enjoys the sanctity of a church.

  • Andrew Milner

    What do David Blunkett and Saddam Hussein have in common? Bearded, tyrant, control freak, devious, liar, hypocrite, see self as victim, tenuous grip on reality, out of office …