So Blair's bezzie mate Lord Levy has been nicked. Tubeworker's heart positively does not bleed.
After years of thinking that playing tennis with Tone places you above the law, Lord Lowlife is finally finding out that selling knighthoods for cash is actually illegal.
Blair's Money Man
Levy has been New Labour's fundraiser for years. Previously plain old Michael Levy, he got his first name changed to 'Lord' after donating dosh to Tony Blair's Labour leadership election campaign. Which was entirely a coincidence, of course.
He raised about two-and-a-half million for Blair's personal office through 'blind trusts' before they were made illegal because they were so dodgy, and has continued to raise funds from right-wing multi-millionaires.
Lord Levy is reckoned to be worth about £10m from his success as a music entrepreneur (it is him you can blame from bringing us Chris Rea - perhaps he should be nicked for that too). But despite his huge wealth, he managed to pay only £5,000 tax in 1998/99. That's less than an SAMF pays, and less than the price of a table at one of New Labour's gala dinners.
All of which may be sleazy, but under this rotten capitalist system, is legal. But going that step further and bestowing honours for cash has been illegal since 1925, after Lloyd George got caught doing it.
Funding and Politics
But Levy's grubbing around is not just about money: it's about politics. For a start, the sale of peerages underlines the fact that the House of Lords is an undemocratic hangover from aristocratic rule that Labour should have abolished on the day it was elected.
But perhaps even more importantly, the 'New Labour' project is about making Labour a party of big business and squeezing out the working-class voice in politics. Blair gave Levy the job of raising a fortune from the filthy rich so that Labour would no longer have to rely on union funding, and so could ignore and attack working people at will.
But now Labour's funding-from-the-rich scheme has been revealed as the cesspit that it is. Which means it is a good time to reassert the idea of union-sponsored political representation, of a direct voice for workers in politics.
With this latest scandal, Blair's days are numbered. But we do not want a smooth transition to his anointed successor Gordon Brown, the main force behind Tube PPP and privatisation across the public sector.
The good news is that the Labour Representation Committee, an organisation of socialists and trade unionists, is planning to stand a candidate to challenge Brown. Hopefully, this will be John McDonnell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington who convenes RMT's Parliamentary group and consistently fights for wokrers' interests against New Labour's sell-outs.