latest 23rd October 2007

MARCH 16th 2006
Assuming that in the House of Lords, as distinct from the House of Commons, what is required is a selection of people from all walks of life who have demonstrated some practical ability that sets them apart from the average, one way that this could be evident is if they had made a great success of their life in business or academia, the law, the arts, or even politics. A further measure might be that they had managed their affairs so as to have made a financial success, brought employment to many, contributed greatly to social welfare or even supported a political party - for without such support no democratic government could ever have come into being.

Over the past 24 hours I have heard more bollocks talked by media commentators and some politicians than I have heard in any similar period that I can remember. Most people would prefer political parties to be financed by those who have come to believe they should support them rather than, through taxation, be forced to support parties they do not want to or actively disagree with. I would not go so far as to say a large contribution to some party's funds should be a condition of being made a peer, as this could exclude those who have expertise that has not brought them any financial reward (though I have not heard of many successful lawyers who are bankrupt). We do after all want to avoid having too many lawyers in Parliament.

Why should a person who has proved themselves competent in managing affairs and therefore likely to make sense when discussing the legislation that governments need from time to time to introduce in an ever changing world, not show their commitment by giving financial support for the party whose aims they would hope to support, or constructively criticise, by serving in the upper chamber? It is open to any party that gains the support of such people, who as I have said can come from any profession including politics itself, to accept financial support and to propose them for a peerage so they can contribute their experience to Parliament. Why should a sitting PM not have a say in this? If he does not, why should any appointments committee take a financial contribution to democracy as an unworthy gesture rather than a serious commitment. A peerage is after all given for a purpose - to engage the recipient in the responsibility for participating in the preparation and scrutiny of legislation which will affect the lives of all.

To complain that any particular act that supports the social agenda of a political party, including a direct donation, should count against appointment rather than in favour of it, is perverse. It seems to me that it is this perversity that has led to donations being disguised as loans - which are a dubious method of financing and should be avoided. As usual, prejudice leads to bringing about a worse situation than that which existed in the first place, which was perfecrtly sound but offended.those who judge other people by their own miserable standards of thought and behaviour. I can assure those whom it may concern, that changing the way political parties are financed will lead to as big a cockup as changing the way foxes are hunted, and for the same reason: the people who are complaining know very little about the world they live in outside their own very limited experience and a surfeit of selective, second-hand, confused information.

SEPTEMBER 20th 2006
The arrest and release on bail of Sir Christopher Evans, the biotech pioneer and millionaire, on the grounds of suspicion of purchasing honours, leaves me with only two alternative conclusions: either the law that covers this business is utter rubbish, or the police are rambling out of control in the hands of idiots or rogues. Of course both may be true. The onus is on the police, parliament and the legislature now to prove their innocence and/or competence as far as I am concerned, and make it snappy. They can't all get away with it, so let's see how fast the buck passes back and forth and where it ends up.

NOVEMBER 18th 2006
We hear from the copper on the case that he has come up with some vital evidence, and that none of this is in the public domain. He is going to report in January 07.  We have no idea if this evidence is:

1. of any particular individuals drumming up finance by offering honours on their own initiative
2. of individuals claiming to have been induced to give money by the offer of honours
3. of fundraisers claiming to have been intsructed by the party (meaning the PM) to offer honours for funds.

All of the above seem pretty unlikely to me. What seems more likely is that to avoid being falsely or properly accused of giving honours for funds, those marked for honours were asked NOT to make donations but loans were welcome. The alternative to this would have been to live with the fact that large contributions to the party are automatic exclusion from participation in the upper chamber or of any other honour - what sort of sense does that make? Answer: none at all in the present circumstances, even if in an ideal world some other arrangements could be devised to fund political parties, debate legislation and honour good performance. It is actually quite hard, if not impossible, to imagine a world in which there was never a connection between these activities.

It is perhaps not inappropriate for the police service to be engaged as the gatherer of evidence, but that anyone had to be arrested in the course of this I find incredible and ridiculous.

DECEMBER 14th 2006

I am not going to write any more on this farcical stuff. There is no way any offence can have been committed based on supposed connection between donations, loans and honours. Equally farcical, if it had not so nearly caused a commercial and defence security catastrophe, is the ridiculous investgation of Saudi Arabian Swiss Bank Accounts by UK Police. Saudi Arabia is not part of the EU and how they run their affairs is based on traditions that are different to ours. We are not allowed to bribe to gain contracts, and there is not the slightest evidence or even likelyhood that we have, even if Saudi internal arrangements and accounting systems were not, in the 1980s, able to accommodate all the finance that was associated with organising these trade and commerce and defense agreements. A 'slush' fund need not imply anything disreputable whatsoever, merely the inability to define in advance who would need to be employed in all the various capacities required over the years to get things running. There are unknown expenses the purchaser of any large contract may incur and that's that. In the 21st century we should aim to get these things set up more transparently, that's all.

It has been said that today will go down as a day of infamy - the day 'the fuzz' visited Number 10. What utter bollocks. Today is the day some once respected political commentators lost their marbles and passed their sell-by date. As for the Saudi investigation, it should never have been started. If there is a problem, deal with it sensibly - the US Government wouldn't have a clue if it's defence contractors paid bribes or not, and the French would expect to anyway. Thank God we only employed one retired policeman on the Diana road-crash conspiracy farce, though he wasted a lot of MI6 time when they are quite busy on important matters.

JANUARY 19th 2007

The police farce continues. Early this morning Ruth Turner, the PM's 'Gatekeeper' was arrested, without prior arrangement, interviewed under caution and released on police bail. It will be interesting to hear the reason for this. I am inclined to agree with Lord Puttnam. It is grotesque. The police seem desperate to prove that they treat everyone the same. That desperation can only be born of the realisation that they can no longer be trusted to make any judgement, at any level, to treat people appropriately. If that is the case, then that is what we have come to and we might as well accept it. An interesting state of affairs. We do indeed live in interesting times.

What would be normal? A single policeman, two at the most. By appointment. Or was it a 'raid'? In that case I hope they can come up with evidence to justify treating Ruth Turner as a suspected criminal. What lies behind this is the serious disagreement about the nature of the crime. To most people, the whole business is ridiculous. The police should never have been involved. The matter is one for parliament, to be thrashed out beween the parties and resolved with a public statement agreed by them all and an agreed policy on fundraising. I find the idea of people who have no expertise to bring or time to spend in the House of Lords buying peerages ridiculous and the idea that Ruth Turner is part of a cover-up equally ridiculous.

JANUARY 30th 2007             Levy returns on bail and is again arrested - this time on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and is bailed again pending further enquiries

Honours police arrest Lord Levy
Labour's chief fundraiser Lord Levy has been arrested by police investigating cash-for-honours allegations.

He returned to a police station on bail following his arrest last year, and was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Lord Levy, a close ally of Tony Blair, was bailed pending further enquiries.

Police are investigating whether money was donated to political parties in exchange for peerages - all those involved deny any wrongdoing.

FEBRUARY 1st 2007
The media are waxing hysterical about the release of information that a week prior to the arrest and release of Lord Levy (see above) the PM was interviewed again as a witness. While this hysteria seems uncalled for (the police had asked for the meeting with the PM to be not made public till they had interviewed Levy) I wonder more and more why anyone should suppose that Yates, the man in charge of the police investigation, has even a small porportion between his ears of what any man would need to know before trampling around asking questions and making judgements on matters of such profound and complex historical precendent, not to mention the psychological basis of the structure of authority, trust and social cohesion on which our civilization is based. I repeat, the resolution of these matters should have been through parliamentary debate in public. The police should never have got involved in trying to judge the fitness of a given individual for receiving an honour or a peerage by relating this to any donation or loan they may have given to support a political party. This is simply not police business.

Yates has been described as 'fearless'. Yes, well we all know some fearless people and in some cases we know why they are fearless and the results this leads to for them and for others.

FEBRUARY 4th 2007
The press say they have news that at least 3 people will be charged with something - either selling peerages or obstructing the course of justice. If that is really the case, I imagine it is going to be based on the claims of some people who say that the fundraising was allowed to bet associated with understandings passed around that donors and lenders would have their political-financial support taken into account when their names were put forward. That is not selling peerages unless those going forward are not suitable candidates in the first place.

MARCH 06 2007
No point in commenting on the latest fuss about injunctions (or their lifting) concerning reporting of supposed opinions of Ruth Turner about Lord Levy's version of events and whether or not these were shared with Powell and Blair. All this has now got to the stage where it must be apparent to the dimmest wits that the law about 'selling' honours and peerages has little or no applicability to the calling into question of deserved honours on the grounds that a political party and its aims have been supported financially. Either there has to be a law forbidding honours to financial supporters of parties, or their financial support must be limited by law, or the version of events as given by the participants must simply be accepted.

APRIL 20th 2007
The culmination of a meticulous investigation into a political system built on vague traditions of recruiting friends and supporters to sit on the committees we call Parliament and Government.  Anyone who thinks this makes sense needs their head examining. The CPS now has to decide what to do and above all, why. Some inappropriate things may well have been said or written. That anything wrong was done is highly unlikely, Why the nation has to have its police time and millions wasted by sad Scotsmen with personality problems is beyond me.

Police hand honours file to CPS
The file from the police investigation into whether people were nominated for honours in return for money has been handed over to prosecutors.

The year-long probe had widened in recent months to look into any attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Scotland Yard said that 136 people had been interviewed. They include Tony Blair and some of his closest aides.

The Crown Prosecution Service will now decide whether anyone should be charged. All involved deny wrongdoing.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said that what they consider to be their main file on the investigation was "a 216 page report with supportive material".

He said there had been extensive consultation with the CPS during the inquiry, and this was the 12th police submission - in total they have handed over 6,300 documents.

Secret loans

He said it was now for the CPS to decide whether any charges should be brought.

The police inquiry began after it emerged that secret loans had been made to Labour before the 2005 general election, and that some lenders had subsequently been nominated for peerages. The probe was widened to include the other main parties.

Four people have been questioned under caution during the course of the inquiry, including Tony Blair's chief fundraiser Lord Levy and Number 10 aide Ruth Turner.

When I lodged the complaint, it was said that the police would turn a blind eye, but what we have had is a meticulous investigation
Angus MacNeil

The first man arrested, head teacher Des Smith, has been told he will not face any charges. The others remain on police bail.

There has only ever been one prosecution involving the law at the centre of the inquiry - the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act - so it could take some time to decide whether to press ahead with a prosecution.

That decision will be made by Carmen Dowd, the head of the CPS's special crime division.

In a statement, the CPS said it had received the file, adding: "It will now be reviewed in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors to determine whether any individuals should be charged with any offences."

Lord Goldsmith

It added that the police would be told of the decision "in due course", and it would be made public, after the parties concerned had been told. Director of Public Prosecutions Ken McDonald has said he will stand back from any decision, because he is a former colleague of Cherie Blair.

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has resisted calls for him to stand aside from the decision on whether to have any prosecution because he is a close ally of Mr Blair.

He says his "constitutional responsibilities" do not allow him to do so, but has said he will make sure there are procedures in place to give confidence that the decision is taken impartially and objectively.

Scottish National Party MP Angus MacNeil, whose complaint initiated the investigation, said: "When I lodged the complaint, it was said that the police would turn a blind eye, but what we have had is a meticulous investigation."

JULY 19th 2007
We are informed by the media that tomorrow the result of the inquiry into 'cash for honours' will be announced and that there is no case to answer. It is the least surprising news of the year - and that is saying something. The selection of individuals for honours is by necessity a rather private affair if it is not to unnecessarily embarrass those chosen and those not. This sort of discretion is bound to annoy the paranoid who believe themselves politically and socially dispossessed by a society run by conspirators and inspire them to launch accusations that, it seems these days, the police have to investigate for political (though not party-political) reasons. Well, now its done. We are left with the status quo: a party in power can appoint anyone it deems appropriate and suitable to a seat in the House of Lords. Whether or not they have given money to a political party should not exclude or ensure their selection.

However it seems that the decent discretion surrounding the process was interpreted at some stage as obstruction of justice. The man who started this said he would accept the result. Now of course he won't. I would say he's beyond help. The media as usual are to blame for this waste of money. But we have to live with them.

JULY 20th 2007

'No charges' in honours probe

The 'cash-for-honours' police inquiry will not lead to any charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.

In a televised statement on Friday Carmen Dowd, the head of the CPS's special crime division, said there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any individual involved for any offence in relation to this matter".

Dowd said the decision related to the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925, attempting to pervert the course of justice and the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.

The news provided confirmation of reports widely circulated on Thursday night that no member of former prime minister Tony Blair's inner circle would be charged, despite a  16-month investigation by the Metropolitan Police following a complaint from SNP MP Angus MacNeil.


Dowd said that the CPS's code states that "there must be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction".

She added that the fact that the "investigation was lengthy" was "an indication of the complexities involved and the diligence and professionalism of the officers conducting the inquiry".

She also said she and other independent experts had conducted a "detailed and rigorous review of the evidence obtained", and that her "decision is based solely on a fair and balanced assessment of the evidence available".

An explanatory document was also published on the CPS website.


Responding on behalf of the Labour Party, general secretary Peter Watt acknowledged that while "controversial", the police inquiry had been "vitally important".

"The Labour Party has co-operated fully throughout with the police investigation and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the police for their hard work, diligence and decency during this process," he said.

"There is no doubt, however, that this whole inquiry has created in the minds of the public a detrimental impression of politics and all political parties.

"What we are left with now is an even greater sense of urgency in seeing through the reforms necessary to party funding so that we can build towards a future with trust restored in our political institutions and the creation of a level playing field within a more transparent system of funding for political parties."


Four people were arrested by Scotland Yard officers during the inquiry, including Labour fundraiser Lord Levy, former Number 10 aide Ruth Turner and Labour donor Sir Christopher Evans. All denied any wrongdoing.

During the course of the investigation, Blair became the first serving prime minister to be questioned by police, although he was quizzed as a witness and not a suspect.

The investigation was launched in March last year after allegations from MacNeil that four wealthy individuals had been nominated for peerages after lending Labour large sums of money.

The inquiry is said to have cost as much as £800,000.

I was going to end this file here until, unbelievably, senior police officers have started to speak out questioning the result of this investigation and the behaviour of Labour politicians. I can hardly believe my ears.  The police had little option once this business had started but to pursue the case. It was handled thoroughly but appallingly badly. There was never the slightest chance of it coming to court. The police do not decide whether any prosecution takes place and this is just as well as we know they cannot be trusted to do both the investigation and take the decision. We have learned this from painful history and the law has been changed so thst can never happen again. For them to question CPS, which has given its very clear reasons for the decision, is disgusting.

The truly terrifying truth which is now coming to light is this: if we did not have a CPS that is independent of the police, the police WOULD HAVE GONE AHEAD just to prove they had a case which needed investigating and justify the expense. This in turn would have involved millions more in costs. At the end, the pressure to get a result is the sort of pressure that has led in the past to a miscarriage of justice.

OCTOBER 23rd 2007
Today, Assistant Commissioner John Yates gave evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration Committee/
he came over as a straighforward, intelligent, honest policeman who was put in an impossible position. A political quarrel between our two main parties had resulted in them passing a law that made no sense, with consequenes and penalties that were as monumental as the mind could conceive. A political offence had been set up as a criminal one, so that anyone found guilty of it would ruin their political career and that of their party. The wretched Yates was asked to investigate the possib ility of the offence and when that looked impossible to prove, into the possibility that he was being obstructed. In setting this hare running, the arseholic MPs responsible risked bring all politics and the police into disrepute. Yates avoided, just, bringing the police into disrepute, in spite of the appalling media coverage. The media have unfortunately already destroyed the reputation of our political system in the eyes of many.