Over 72 hours after the McBride/Draper/Whelan poisoned email plot was revealed, and 12 hours after UK Government Minister Alan Johnson had denied the need to do so on national radio, Gordon Brown stopped saving the world for a minute and tried instead to save his own skin. The fact that he still refuses to issue a formal government statement – a personal, handwritten letter of regret to those maligned is not the same thing – demonstrates either extraordinary bad judgement, bad advice, dissociation from reality or maybe all of the above. Brown assumed office with a promise to end the endemic sleaze and spin doctoring which was Labour’s trademark under his predecessor, St. Tony Blair. He seems incapable of understanding the constitutional damage that libelous spin, routine expenses fraud, licensed police brutality, sanctioned torture and extended detention without trial does to the confidence of the electorate and Britain’s overseas reputation. There is more than enough legislation in place to counter these crimes: more than seven new laws came into place every day from 1997 to 2007, a huge increase on the previous decade and a figure which accelerated under the ultra-authoritarian Brown. In common with other totalitarian regimes, Labour simply has a moral black spot when it comes to policing its own aparatchiks.
I am personally under no delusion that the Conservatives are more than capable of dirty tricks. Camerons’ chief spin doctor, the ex News of the World editor Andy Coulson (implicated in the Royal phone-tapping scandal) is potentially an accident-in-waiting. The Tories would score highly if they promised to take the moral high ground and acted accordingly. If they had any sense, they would question the value of ‘assets’ such as Coulson and also distance themselves from celebrity public relations ‘gurus’ who have demonstrated that they have no qualms about swapping allegiance, played a part in the discomfiture of Osborne (and have access at the highest level to Murdoch). They probably won’t do either, and the Guido Fawkes revelations will be seen as a justification for the dark arts, but if either party wants to know why the numbers exercising their right to vote have diminished on both sides of the Atlantic, the answer is above. The issue goes beyond them and us. The populace has been duped into penury, taken to war, robbed and manipulated by a claque which has clearly lost its moral compass. While the end seems clearly in sight – Labour will not be re-elected – we must send a clear signal that while they may well have destroyed the UK economy for years to come, we will not tolerate gutter politics and sanctioned sleaze from their successors, who have past form in such matters.