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hutch0
Date: 2008-01-28 23:55
Subject: schadenfreude corner
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:not wildly surprisednot wildly surprised
Music:the divine comedy
Since we last visited the increasingly-fraught world of Peter Hain, the Work And Pensions Secretary (and also, let's not forget, the Welsh Secretary - ministers in Gordon's administration having to double up to save money) has resigned from the Cabinet because the question of his campaign donations has been referred to the police. What struck me most forcefully about this latest development was the political obituary broadcast on The World At One on the day of his resignation, and similar articles published elsewhere since. The media seem to think Hain's political career is finished. I wouldn't be too sure.

More recently, Alan Johnson, another candidate for Deputy Leader, appears to have accepted donations from someone he shouldn't have. So, that's Hain, Harriet, and Alan. Surely it's time someone investigated all the deputy leadership candidates? Who'd have thought anyone would be so keen to have John Prescott's old job?

Meanwhile, crossing the floor, we have Tory MP Derek Conway, who appears to have showered public largesse on his son for doing 17 hours a week for him as a Parliamentary researcher. This has been much in the news today, but I've linked to the BBC report because it has a link to video of Conway apologising in a not terribly-heartfelt manner to the House of Commons.

I think it's time the Electoral Commission, and whoever else has the power to do it, performed a root-and-branch investigation of every MP's financing arrangements. None of us is exactly stunned to discover that our elected representatives are on the take, in one form or another, but this apparent landslide of sleaze is beginning to damage the authority of Parliament. I don't care how many Labour, Conservative, Lib-Dem or Other heads roll, but this has got to stop. I'm not Gordon's best friend and The Boy Dave and Clegg Minor would probably cross the road to avoid me, but Parliament has a certain authority which transcends party politics, and we need to repair that. A long drawn-out series of scandals is not the best way to do it. Better to get it all out in one go, twilight of the Gods and all that, and whoever's left standing will know they have to stay honest.
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