Was it‘False Allegations’ wot done fer ‘im?
, amnesiac, hadnʼt even leftthe stage when David Blunkett, straight-talking, noble force for good, brought downby love and vindictive pygmies, began tore-emerge. With a little more work he could- if we are not careful - complete the fastestpolitical rehabilitation in history and be readyfor a speedy return to government.So we should be very careful, and resistsuccumbing to general amnesia - DavidBlunkett was not laid low by love, butbecause he played fast and loose with thepower he held as Home Secretary, andbecause he was, and remains, less thantruthful about this. He most certainly did not,as Tony Blair claims, leave government “withthis integrity intact”, and at the very least heleft government with his judgment deeplysuspect, and his capacity for nally arrivingat the truth unproven.By some lights hissins are minor - onesmall immigration issueexpedited, the odd mistake over a rail ticket,deployment of perks and use of countryfacilities thatʼd count as pretty low level inthe business world. But government oughtto be different, the rules in governmentare different, and a Minister who shows areadiness to grant special favours, alongsidean apparent inability to own up to it beforebeing forced to, should give us some pausefor thought. This is particularly so in the caseof the Home Secretary, who this year gavehimself emergency powers to suspend everylaw in the country, and whose defence of an increasingly repressive raft of legislationleant heavily on ʻtrust me.ʼBut we canʼt, and we shouldnʼt. The trustissue shouldnʼt simply affect our views of Blunkett and of the department runningthe police, the security services and IDdatabase, because the approach takento the presentation of inconvenient andembarrassing facts throughout the Blunkettaffair is no different from the way thecurrent government operates in general. Theobjective is not to report, explain and justifybut to
- what is actually true is of little consequence, while what the publiccan be induced to believe is true is of vitalimportance. Civil servants are co-opted andcompromised in support of the party, notthe country, and what is seen as good forthe party and the leader is seen as being, bydenition, good for everyone. Truth is whatwe say it is.So in the broader areas of policing andsecurity, polls (not hard data) showingincreased public perceptions of crimeand terror problems are played up to andreinforced by heavily-spun but largelypointless ʻtough measuresʼ that will playat the ballot box, while in the case of Blunkett the facts are slowly mugged intothe background (by everybody from TonyBlair down) in preparation for the return of afundamentally decent, straight-talking manwho Speaks for the People. If we can grasphow the latter process works, it may equip usbetter to deal with the former, with or withoutBlunkettʼs second coming.
Blunkett himself, never slow to ndsomeone else to blame for his problems, dida ne impression of the wronged hero inresignation interviews, and the press did therest. According to The Guardian, “Blunkettmade clear that he had risked - and halted- his career for love”, while Blunkett himself said: “I misunderstood that someone could dothis, not just to me, but to a little one as well.”Responding to Blunkettʼs letter of resignation, Tony Blair said: “You leavegovernment with your integrity intact andyour achievements acknowledged by all. Youare a force for good in British politics andcan take great pride in what you have done toimprove the lives of people in this country.”The Guardian added: “Mr Blunkettʼsdignied departure is likely to boost publicrespect”, and reported that parliamentarycolleagues were “ʼfurious and guttedʼ... thesurprise resignation prompted widespreadsympathy for a man seen as ʻhounded outʼover his personal problems rather thanfor fast-tracking a visa ... There was alsoʻimmense angerʼ at Labour backbenchers
David Blunkett wasnot laid low by love,but because he played fast and loose withthe power he held as Home Secretary, and because he was, and remains, less thantruthful about this.
FACTION/ January 20053