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NuLab sleaze goes far beyond people getting caught with their trousers down during the "Back to Basics" years, and further even than Cash for Questions or Aitken and Archer.

The spectacle of Ministers of the Crown who believe that their right to abuse their offices is trammeled merely by the probability of detection is unrivalled in modern times.


I nominate the Smallpox Vacine order, routed through a company owned by New Labour donor and Peer (now Defense Procurement Minister) Lord Drayson. His Co coincidentally brought the UK rights to the vaccine in question only weeks before, after a breakfast meeting with Blair at No 10.

Mind you, there's some serious competition ...

Andrew Eastwell

Does repeated craven capitulation to Sinn Fein/IRA count as sleaze?

Surely one of the Mandelson sagas.

So much choice! Patience Wheatcroft in Times had a good article a couple of weks ago on a little mentioned bit of Labour 'generosity' to business

Then there are all those holidays with rich friends, the freebies. The most venial was Blunkett's assumption that the taxpayer should pay for his mistress's travel

I think though that the big one was Ecclestone - what with Tony's "trust me "TV moment and Gordon's discomfort at his part in it.


So many to choose from. Maybe we coudl vote for a top ten!

I have to go for Ecclestone because its such brazen bribery.

Having done his whiter than white thing Blair almost immediately turned out to be far more open to backhanders than anyone else. It was also the one that most affected Blair himself.

Actually the one that annoys me the most is what I consider the blatant abuse by Cherie Blair seeking to pay off their enormous mortgage by cashing in on her position as wife of the PM.

I'm all for partners pursuing their own careers but the obvious switch between "Cherie Booth QC" and "Mrs Cherie Blair" should have been stopped a long time ago.

It just smells of cashing in.

Financially,in a crowded field probably the Smallpox vaccine is the worst.
Morally,in an weven more crowded field,Geoff Hoons' treatment of David Kelly must be a strong contender.
Perhaps you could have a poll of Labours sleaziest . In no particular order contenders would include Keith Vaz,Blunkett,Mandelson,Hoon,Byers,Geoffrey Robinson,Campbell,Falconer,Chris Bryant etc etc etc.

So much choice - so little time.

Echoing your earlier correspondent, I think the sleaziest moment was Blair's promise that there would be "No Prisoner Releases unless Violence is Given up for Good."

I think there's a difference between sleaze and outright political hypocrisy.
Blair's appeasement of the IRA and his governments actions on the dodgy dossier on Iraq show an abuse of process and basic dishonesty in power.
Sleaze though is pigs to the trough - maybe coming from the same character defects.
It's the blatant greed and desire to profit personally from office that seems to run through many in this Government - the corruption.

Either Blunkett or Mandelson not sure which

Difficult one to pick, as here have been so many and ironic as it was 'sleaze' that cost us the 1997 election. (Alegedly)

My vote vote go to the Ecclestone bribe, a truly mind-blowing example of sleaze and hypocracy even by Tony and Gordon's low standards, and so soon after they first got in.

For me itd have to be the 'good day to bury bad news' debacle, even if most of the damage was done by a civil servant. Imo it offers a disturbing glimpse into the utterly cold and inhuman PR/spin approach to politics engineered by Mandelson/Campbell.

I think that the worse thing is for Brown to deprive the pansioners of £5billion per year from their funds..

Carol Caplin.

Jo Moore's "Today is a good day to bury bad news" message summed up New Labour for me.

Stephen Byers' stream of untruths and evasions surrounding his deliberate destruction of Railtrack and refusal to compensate shareholders.

I don't know about sleazy, but the disgraceful treatment of David Kelly was undoubtedly the most unpleasant moment.

I've consulted Professor Rudolf Bung of the Institute of Sleazology at Mobutu House, Freeby nr Melton Mowbray, Leics. This is what he had to say:

"Sleaze" is a catch-all term used by laymen to describe a number of phenomena generally associated with a political party being in power for too long. We experts who have studied this field recognise distinct sub-specialisms, and we are unanimous that the Blair regime has developed new and remarkably innovative changes in all of them.

(a) Monumental Crass Incompetence
The Millennium Dome. Purists might argue that this was simply an example of Stupendous Bureaucratic Waste, but the true connoisseur of sleaze recognises elements which lift this above the realms of everyday mere ineptitude: persistent attempts to cover-up the failure of the project; shady attempts to drum up sponsorships; refusal to hold an enquiry; absence of resignations; the fact that it spawned further outbreaks of sleaze (Hinduja passports etc).

(b) Vommit-inducing Transparent Insincerity
Blair's tearful reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Close runners-up: Blair's reading from Corinthians at the funeral service for Diana; Blair announcing that he felt the hand of history on his shoulder.

(c) Blatantly Warped Cynicism
Jo Moore announcing that 9/11 was a good day to bury bad news. In a class of it's own. Runner-up: Alastair Campbell digging for dirt about the victims of the Paddington rail crash.

(d) Unfeasibly Chronic Memory Malfunction
Stephen Byers over the Railtrack Affair. Poor Mr Byers has a very bad memory indeed, and the facts rarely coincide with his recollection of them. Close runner-up: Blair claiming to have tried to stow away on a plane to the West Indies when a boy; Blair claiming to have watched Jackie Milburn play football when a boy; Blair trying to remember his favourite food; etc etc.

(e) Diabolical Inability to Recognise that the Law Also Applies to Oneself
Prescott, the minister who presides over the council tax, forgetting to pay his council tax for several years.

(f) Ham-fisted Abuse of State Power
Alastair Campbell's handling of the Kelly/Gilligan Affair. 'Nuff said.

(g) Untenable Changes In Policy
The Ecclestone Affair, which saw technical advances in the sleazology subjects of how to ban tobacco advertising without actually banning it, and how to accept a £1m donation without actually accepting it. Added bonus: Blair exhibiting signs of Chronic Memory Malfunction and Vomit-inducing Insincerity when explaining the lack of connection between the non-change in policy and Mr Ecclestone's non-donation ("I'm a pretty straight kinda guy").

(e) Ground-breaking Experiments In Personal Finance
The very pinnacle of sleaze. Mandelson's mortgage, Blunket's grace and favour flat, etc etc. Where do you start?

In a very crowded field the Mills/Jowell affair is shaping up to be its defining example. It seems to qualify under sall headings. It's got something for everyone:
* rampant feminist claims she leaves the household finances to her husband
* minister in a government with aggressive anti-tax-avoidance policies caught out dabbling in, er, mitigating her exposure to tax
* dodgy foreigners spending time in jail
* metropolitan liberal elite members who are friends with everyone
* millionaire socialists juggling sums of money beyond the wildest dreams of most people
* member of an authoritarian government playing fast-and-loose with the anti-money laundering rules
* overseas government with an, er, unorthodox reputation
* queries as to whether earlier investigations of the spouse were shelved, and if so by whom and why
* top flight lawyer having difficulty remembering whether he is innocent or guilty
* Jowell has the full confidence of the Prime Minister....


I want to join in, I really do, but my head hurts and I cry if I think about this subject too much.

The Hutton Inquiry takes the biscuit for me. I was on duty at the DCA press office when the Inquiry was announced and saw the whole thing through to the end. The whole Kelly affair, the evidence of incompetence and deliberate deceit and even the Hutton Report itself, just left me breathless.

What does it say about us as a nation, though, that we keep voting for these t***ers.

I would like to nominate the introduction of the Human Rights legislation. Which coincided with Mr Bliar making much of his refusal to take his pay rise, and guaranteed extra work for his wife.... who is a human rights lawyer.

And then with this legislation in place, the cynical way it is ignored, and the writ of Habeus Corpus suspended, by the introduction of on the spot fines.

I'd say all of that is pretty sleazey.

What's t***ers Richard?I've been wracking my brains but I just don't know this word.As I've never voted Labour I'm obviously not one!

"What's t***ers Richard?"

Think of pancakes. Or what a football referee does to a coin in order to decide who kicks off a football match.

I've obviously led a very sheltered life Daniel!

William Norton's post is brilliant. Pick of the week?

The Jo Moore "good day to bury bad news" episode takes the award for me. It does not get more cynical than that. It is also the way that they think they can get away with it. Mandelson runs a close second tying with Blunkett because they both tried it on twice.

As a former "t***er" (in that I must, sadly and very shamefaced, admit that in my misguided youth I did once not only vote for Labour, I actually campaigned for them - may G-d forgive me) the definition should be more clearly defined.

A lot of young people vote socialist. Most grow out of it. (Can anyone give me the source of the quote "Anyone who isn't a Socialist at 20 hasn't got a heart, anyone still a Socialist at 30 hasn't got a brain"?)

Therefore, I propose that we define a 't***er" as one of the millions that have matured, and should know better, yet STILL persist in voting for this shower?

And William Norton's post is most definately my pick of the week too!

Although it shouldn't be forgotten that William's first example is the Millenium Dome.

Much as I would love to put all the blame for that on NuLab, we should remember that it was Heseltines's project originally. Bliar would have got a lot more respect in my eyes if he had just cancelled it.

The Tessa Jowell couldnt have been scripted...if someone was to write up a situation where a Minister would have to resign, it would be something like this, and yet she's staying put! It beggars belief.

So much sleaze - so little time.

What irritates me so much about NuLab is that the big, grave and very serious controversies are usually whitewashed over, and the minister gets to keep their job (think Kelly, Hoon, Jowell, even Tony with the Ecclestone + David Kelly saga,) yet the more "minor" (but still damaging) sleaze stories inevitably end up with the resignation of a minister (think Blunkett).

Now, all of these ministers should have resigned, but it seems that the more serious the sleaze, the more likely that the minister gets to keep their job. I mean, Jowellgate is an amazingly murky state of affairs - didn't the woman speak to her husband or anything? I know if my husband came home with 350k I'd want to know where it came from.

Jon - I believe the "socialist at 20, conservative at 40" quote comes from everyone's favourite eugenicist George Bernard Shaw.

If I were Ming the Merciless I would zap Flash Norton for giving a better precis of everything that's disgusting about New Labour than I could ever hope to compose. But as he's a fellow Tory he should be celebrated. I'm going to keep William's post and use it to remind myself why staying at home rather than going out in the cold canvassing on Sunday isn't an option (upper clapton road at 11am, if anyone's interested!).

Labour Sleaze isn't a national failing though. Even at a local level, in key target seats like Hackney, they really take the biscuit (he wrote in the worst ever Radio1-disc-jockey-style link):


For me, the most sleazy incident of the entire Labour government has to be the Iraq dossiers, heck its what first got me interested in politics and has the widest and most important implications.

Not to take anything away from the many other incidents of sleaze. particularly everything Byers has ever said or done.

For me, the sleaziest moment was the way the foot and mouth crisis was handled. Up until the point that Nick Brown was effective relieved of his command, it was a just a matter of incompetence. But once Downing Street stepped in, the whole operation became subordinate to the most breathtakingly cynical exercise in media manipulation I've ever seen. Millions of animals were killed for no other reason but to massage the headline statistics. Unbelievable the media allowed them to get away with it -- and then get away with not holding an independent inquiry.

Heseltine may have conceived the Dome but Labour decided the rubbish that went into it. My personal worst was the hounding to death of David Kelly and the cover up. Tory so called Sleaze was a joke compared to this lot, mostly sexual, though Labour have their share of that, and a couple of individuals, one not an MP,one who at least stood down from the Cabinet and I have never been entirely convinced of of Neil Hamilton's guilt. These were individuals but Labour is rotten from the top down, I have never known such a corrupt Government.

The Governments involvement in David Kelly's suicide was sick. A Government forcing a man to commit suicide then pressing on for the Iraqi Invasion. Disgraceful.

Oh Dear! Where does one start. William Norton deserves a peerage for cataloging the nulab balls up so succinctly . For me, the pinnacle has to be anything Ali C has had his mits on, culminating with the death of that decent man, Dr Kelly.

Here is a late entrant just seen on the BBC website:


When giving a press conference in France, he was asked if there were any French policies he would like to imitate.

Mr Blair, trying to answer in French, replied: "I desire your prime minister in many different positions."

Quite good of the BBC to put this in

I was just mulling over that t***r. Could his finger have slipped? Could he have meant to type "w" instead of "t"?

Ecclestone. If memory serves, they got caught asking for the second installment - the first £1m was 'donated' before the election, then they got caught asking for the second £1m after they had exempted F1 from the law banning tobacco advertising. So Bernie got his exemption and his cash back - it makes one wonder who blew the whistle on the deal.

Actually, anything Blair touches turns to dross and he is permanently surrounded by dodgy deals: coronets for cash, Powderject, the Mittal affair, etc. - and London & Continental Railways is happening as we speak. You can be sure there will be a lot more before he leaves office.

The following website lists several hundred instances since 1997: labour-watch.com/sleaze.htm

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