by Gerry Bates
Is Tessa Jowell guilty of personal corruption? She is not, it seems. But what a courrpt, vile bourgeois world this affair highlights — a world a million miles from the lives of working people.
Jowell is a “Labour” government minister. Her husband, David Mills, is an international lawyer. He specialises in helping rich people find loop holes in tax laws and any other laws they find inconvenient. One of his clients is Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, who is by some accounts, the richest man in Italy. Berlusconi is on the extreme right in politics.
Berlusconi is, allegedly, the source of £350,000 which came into the possession of Mills. Was it a gift? A payment to Mills for covering up for Berlusconi in an Italian court? A payment for some as yet unknown nefarious service? A service which may come out in court if Mills stands trial for corruption in Italy, as it seems likely he will.
This connection between the husband of a New Labour Minister and a very rich, corrupt ultra-right Italian Prime Minister is a freak, a happenstance, a piece of serendipity arranged by Fate to prove it has a twisted sense of humour? Not at all: Prime Minister Tony Blair and his high-earning barrister wife, Cherie, are close friends not only of Tessa Jowell, but of Berlusconi too. They go to him for multi-millionaire-style holidays, as his guest.
Mills at least could claim that his association with Berlusconi is a professional connection, part of his job. The Blairs’ association with Berlusconi is a matter of love — if not for Berlusconi, then for the trappings of immense wealth which on occasion he graciously lets them share — and of political affinity.
Berlusconi has been Blair’s most frequent ally inside the European Union in objecting to measures of social policy which the other EU leaders, conservative enough themselves, consider necessary to establish a civilised common minimum standard.
And, after all — why not? The days are gone when a personal association with a Berlusconi would have embarrassed a British Prime Minister. What do you think Blair is — a Labour Prime Minister?
Dead fish are said to rot first in the head. The rot in New Labour has spread a long way beyond the head — the government and the New Labour establishment — but the head stinks most of all. The stink is of moral decay and political, moral and financial corruption. Whether it is the Blairs or their friend and Tony’s Minister, Jowell, and her spouse, or David Blunkett with his get rich quick share-dealing or “ordinary” New Labour folk like over-fed John Prescott with his two jaguars, or any other one of the vast retinue of Blair cronies, rich benefactors of New Labour or rich recipients of favours from New Labour — this government stinks of lucre, venality and outright corruption.
There is no mystery in it. These people, having cut any political, moral, intellectual and emotional ties they had with the labour movement, have cut themselves adrift from the ethos and reason for being of the labour movement. They serve the rich.
And as the bible puts it: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” Why shouldn’t they share in the spoils of their rich friends and clients?
It is these foul people, thoroughly corrupt even when they remain entirely within the law, who have disenfranchised the working class by hi-jacking the Labour Party. Who maintain the union-shackling anti-union laws imposed by Thatcher in the 1980s. Who, still calling themselves “Labour”, even if “new” prefixes it, run the country for the British Berlusconis and for rich scavengers like David Mills.
The trade unions still have the weight and the power to clear out the pestilential swamp that Blair, Brown and their cronies have made of what was once the Labour Party —the party which despite its frequent and grave political failings, was the party of working people. It is time these venal and vile people, corrupt to the marrow of their bones even when they are not legally corrupt were turned out of the labour movement. All of them!