12 November, 2006

Even yet more on cash for honours.

Like old man river, the case keeps rolling on and the politicians are beginning to show-boat.

The Independent reports that Scotland Yard is now investigating allegations that Blair and friends did not tell the Labour Party's auditors about £12m worth of donations related to the cash for honours scandal; consequently, the auditors signed off the party's 2004 accounts unaware that they were seriously inaccurate. This takes the investigation to a new level. Flogging gongs and seats in the Lords is illegal but the worst-case fall out is likely to be no more than a fine and a lot of political damage. Cooking the books is a more serious criminal matter, as the the many businessmen currently in gaol for returning deliberately inaccurate accounts can testify.

No wonder Blair and friends are going on the offensive against the police. The Daily Mail has been fed the story; ministers do not like the way they have been interviewed, the police have been leaking to the press, etc, etc. A former copper, Labour peer Lord Mackenzie, an ex-head of the Police Superintendents' Association, knows their game. He told the Mail on Sunday,

The common ploy by criminals through the ages is to get their retaliation in first and make a complaint against the police to divert the attention of the authorities and put the heat on the police...

But historically it rarely works. If Downing Street is considering attempting to do this they are making a catastrophic mistake. The police have to do their duty and must not be deterred from doing so.
Meanwhile, Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, the officer in charge of the investigation is covering all bases. He is trying to rule out all innocent parties now so that nobody can suddenly fall on their sword for Blair later.The Sunday Telegraph has been given the story:
A source close to the inquiry said: "What Yates is trying to do is to ensure that no senior figure is able to take the rap for the nominations at a later stage in the inquiry, saving Tony Blair and his inner circle."

Mr Yates is understood to have been bruised by his experiences during the prosecution of Paul Burrell, former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales, whose trial for stealing some of her possessions collapsed after a dramatic intervention by the Queen. The Queen confirmed a claim by Mr Burrell that she had effectively given him permission to keep the possessions, a claim that was found not to have been investigated properly by the police inquiry, headed by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Yates.

The source said: "Yates is going to make damn sure nothing similar happens here. He does that by getting the Cabinet to deny, in writing, that they had anything to do with the nominations.

No comments: