Friday, December 17, 2004

Bye, bye Blunkett

And there goes another one, returning to spend more time with his constituency.

I feel sad about this whole thing, because it undermines faith in the political class in this country. With a few exceptions, there isn't any massive corruption in British politics. The system has faults and these can be exploited, but there is nothing like the porkbarrel politics of the US. I am concerned about the level of corporate involvement in politics - an argument for me for public funding of political parties.

This case doesn't show massive corruption. At the worst, a minister got a visa expedited for a friend of a friend - somebody he loved. Quite possibly, a civil servant overstepped the mark in helping his boss. That's it.

What we have witnessed over the past couple of weeks is the vultures of the press, snacking on the titbits of prurient information leaking from one side or the other and waiting for the main course. Not exactly edifying and distracting from the real business of politics.

Let's argue over identity cards, falling crime figures, terrorist internment or immigration, but let's not fight about private lives.

Of course, it may yet backfire - Blunkett on the backbenches will have more time to fight the case for access, so all that leaking from Kimberley Fortier-Quinn to the Daily Mail may prove to have contributed to something of a pyhrric victory. We shall see.

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