Blair extracts his revenge on Sleaze Watchdog. Zimbabwe re-visited?

According to media coverage, the head of the Civil Service has accused Tony Blair’ of taking the single handed decision to not to re-appoint Sir Alistair Graham, the chairman of Government’s ethical standards committee. As Sir Alistair will not be allowed to stay on from April, This is the first step to effectively close down this important Government Watchdog.

The word ‘revenge’ is on MP’s lips.

Informed opinion believes the committee will wither without an effective chairman and thus a vital instrument to check and balance overweening arrogance of our political masters is now in serious jeopardy. Tony Blair’s determination to oust his critic; a man in high office just doing his job for once chimes ominously with Robert Mugabe’s appalling response to the violent beating of his political opponents at a Prayer Rally. With Morgan Tsvangirai and 13 members of the Democratic Opposition lying in a Harare hospital, suspected fractured skull, together with ripped ears and broken limbs, Mugabe response to his western critics, was ‘go hang’. How monstrous that human rights play no part in the Mugabe regime. How monstrous that our Prime Minister seems ready, albeit at a much lesser level to tell us that when it comes to safeguarding the enforcement of standards in public office, then its : ‘go hang’ too!. What happened to all those ethically sponsored Nolan Principles that attracted me to joining Labour in the first place’

In 1994, John Major introduced this Committee on Standards in Public Life, after the cash for questions scandal in which Conservative MP’s were discovered taking money from lobbyists in return for tabling parliamentary questions. It was a necessary step to improve confidence in MPs. The Freedom of Information Act, long awaited and enthusiastically received is now under threat as the Government attempts to rein back on what can be asked. Why’ Cost is suggested as the reason’ Come on. With a new Dome scenario being acted out in East London with a ‘9.3bn price tag and rising, surely the Government can afford to answer questions on vital information needed in the public domain and offers another rare but important check and balance in our administrative processes.

Tony Blair’s political life is almost over, The legacy looks tarnished indeed and is plummeting by the week with even the indomitable Betty Boothroyd describing him as a lame duck, Robert Mugabe’s time in power is fast diminishing too. As Blair has pontificated so many times on how he plans to save Africa then as soon as we wave him a joyous farewell from No 10,, I advise him to increase his ‘carbon footprint’ and head for Zimbabwe. As one president is certainly a dictator and with Blair actively attempting to behave like one, Tony should be assured of a warm reception. Sadly, both leaders appear to have much in common!

Alison Halford

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