As British toffeewomblers will know, our beloved UK Pensions minister, David Blunkett, has just had to resign, following more allegations of sleaze and corruption.
This is actually the second time Blunkett has resigned in a year. The man's got form. A lot of form. Over the last year or two he has had an affair with another man's wife, fraudulently given this woman free travel, illegally helped her nanny to get a quick visa, unethically joined a company weeks before rejoining the Cabinet (against ministerial rules), tried to profit from the same company's involvement with the government, used government notepaper for personal and commercial purposes, and generally taken jobs without declaring them in the proper way - despite being informed of the proper procedure three times over. He has also faced unproven allegations of: interfering with his son's schooling through the Education Department, using government chauffeurs for private purposes, unethically asking the police to guard his mistress, putting pressure on the US Embassy to grant a passport, and getting the taxpayer to pay for a Spanish trip with his girlfriend. I may have missed something.
And his response? In his farewell speeches, he says he has 'done nothing wrong', however he admits he has 'made mistakes'.
I like this ‘mistake’ thing. Useful. I’ve got a magistrates hearing coming up for a speeding offence, 72mph in a 60mph zone. In fact, I might try and use the Blunkett defence.
‘So, Mister Thomas, you admit you knew the speed limit, but you then accelerated to 72mph.’
‘Yes, your Honour, but it was a mistake.’
‘But you admit that you did this three times. That you were informed of the speed limit three times over, yet each time you carried on speeding at 72mph.’
‘Yes, but each time it was a mistake.’
‘Fair enough. You remain a man of the utmost decency and integrity. Not guilty.’
Don’t think so, do you?
Even more intriguingly, the Prime Minister, confronted with the above list of Blunkett's misdeeds, has declared in ringing tones to the House of Commons, that David Blunkett is an honourable man who leaves office 'without a stain of impropriety'. Without a stain, not a single embarrassing stain? Really?
I’d like to have seen Blair’s response, if he’d had Fred West as a Cabinet Minister.
‘Fred West remains a man of unblemished integrity and honesty. Yes he has admitted making mistakes in butchering seven of his children and thirteen lodgers and burying them in the garden, but I do not see how this affects his Cabinet position. We all make mistakes. Fred West has also had to overcome significant problems in his life, not least being a blood-crazed sexual psychopath, and I think fair-minded people will take this into account when judging his behaviour. Indeed, I believe Fred West remains the ideal person to pilot through parliament the government’s new Back Garden Paving-Over (Amendment) bill.’