|The News Line: Editorial
Friday, 2 February 2007
Blair skating on the thinnest of thin ice
PRIME Minister Blair has been secretly questioned, for a second time, by police investigating allegations that honours were sold for cash by his government. The questioning took place just before he left the UK for the Davos summit of billionaires.
This has just emerged after a six-day news blackout.
The blackout was at the request of the police, who for Ďoperational reasonsí did not want any of the main players in the cash for honours saga alerted to their move.
Just days before this interview, Ruth Turner, Blairís director of government relations, was raided at 6am, and then arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and in connection with alleged offences under the 1925 Honours Act.
It is believed that Blair was questioned about some of the issues that arose from the interview with Turner.
Following the second Blair police interview, his special envoy to the Middle East, and special fund raiser, Lord Levy, was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, before being bailed.
Other members of Blairís inner circle to have been questioned by the police include his director of political operations John McTernan, who has been interviewed twice, and his chief of staff, Jonathan Powell. There is no doubt that if they lived on a council estate they would all be in prison by now.
The police are believed to be on the brink of sending their file on the scandal and the alleged attempt to cover it up to the Department of Public Prosecutions.
It will decide if there are grounds for a prosecution, and then the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith will give the go-ahead or otherwise.
This role, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith has refused to relinquish, despite the fact that Blair is his boss.
Lord Goldsmith, as is well known, originally pointed out the illegal nature of the onslaught on Iraq that Bush and Blair were proposing in early 2003.
However, when the British military chiefs declared that they would not invade unless they got an assurance that the action was legal, Goldsmith modified his advice.
He is Blairís flexible legal friend and protector.
He is also alleged to have played the same flexible role over the ending of the recent fraud probe into a BAE arms deal with the Saudi royal family.
With the Saudis threatening retaliation if BAE was prosecuted over the arms and bribes scandal, Blair supported by Goldsmith ended the probe and the move to prosecution, making nonsense of their 24-hour-a-day law and order campaign in Britain.
Their issue is not that a crime has been committed, but who has committed it. There will be no asbos issued to BAE or the Saudi royal family.
Lord Goldsmith maintains that the decision to end the inquiry and not to prosecute came from the Serious Fraud Office director, who said that any further investigation would jeopardise national security.
He denied that Blair had instructed him to bin the fraud probe, giving the most unlikely explanation that the Serious Fraud Office was allowed to decide whether to prosecute BAE and expose the role of the Saudi royalty in alleged corruption.
Blair and Goldsmithís attitude to crime is pragmatic: it is a question of who did it, and not what they did.
Both Blair and Goldsmith supported the decision to refuse to prosecute over BAE, saying the security of capitalist Britain would have been at stake from a Saudi backlash.
On this basis it is possible to argue that the sale of honours for millions to finance Labourís election campaign was also a matter of the security of the nation and therefore necessary.
Blairís definition of crime is class based. It is simply that the rich can do no wrong. His diseased government is now staggering from crisis to crisis. The working class must bring it down and bring in a workers government that will put an end to the criminal capitalist system.
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