"I have decided there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any individual for any offence in relation to this matter" said Carmen Dowd of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after more than a million pounds had been spent in a high profile Metropolitan Police investigation lasting well beyond a year. The CPS, ready to pursue petty criminals and motorists any time, threw in the towel and decided that with the "Cash for Honours" probe, during which Labour Party fund raiser Lord Levy had been arrested and ex prime minister Blair interviewed, they had bitten off more than they could chew. Or maybe they only did their service for the country by replacing the lid on a can of worms which was getting bigger by the day.
It is doubtful that the CPS decision was a technical one relating to the strength of the evidence. Many people suspect that it was politically motivated. The police enquiries had been embarrassing for the Blair government, but corruption is not an exclusive New Labour prerogative. Dragging the scandal out in open court might have been a death blow to Britain's increasingly tarnished democracy in which voters are no longer bothered to go to the polls since the elected party, one or the other face of the same coin, usually only carries minority popular support and forces through a long string of unpopular measures and new inventive methods of taxation. The cash for honours issue was about big money and the corruptibility of politicians and business men alike.
Liberal Party leader Sir Menzies Campbell was probably right when he said: "There still remain many questions of political responsibility. This whole affair has diminished politics and politicians in the eyes of the public." Withdrawing the charges and vindicating the loathed Blair administration has merely added cynicism to the way the British public views its politicians and "democratic" institutions. Few have any doubts that money exchanged hands for honours. After the Attorney general halted an enquiry into the BAE arms deal bribery scandal, this is the second occasion where probing into high level corruption has been prevented. The honourable gentlemen in the two houses of parliament will heave a sigh of relief: In Britain, it seems, they can still do their corruption honourably.
This item appears late on my blog because Google decided, without informing me by email, that my blog has been classified as a spam blog and will be removed within a week if I do not submit it for review. Is that political too? Is the fight against spam, annoying as it is, going to be the means of curtailing the internet freedom of embarrassing the powerful and showing up the compliant mainstream media?