Could 'Cheriegate' become Labour's 'Profumo affair'?

Submitted by AWL on 21 December, 2002 - 11:13

By Annie O'Keefe

Do bears shit in Canadian woods?
Do lawyers lie, deceive, dissemble, mislead?
Is it their basic trade, something they do just to keep in practice?
Is the top layer of New Labour a cartel of lawyers and spin liars?
Is Cherie Blair a lawyer?
The question is: is Cherie Blair lying now about her connection with low-life conman Peter Foster?

It is difficult not to feel some satisfaction at the sight of the press baying at the heels of the Blairs. The same press that Prime Minister Tony Blair recently set to denouncing, libelling and hate-mongering against the firefighters, and in particular against their leader, Andy Gilchrist.

It is difficult to feel sympathy for a woman who tearfully tells the television cameras that she was only being a normal caring mother concerned that her son Euan should have a place to live when he becomes a student in Bristol, when in fact she spent over half a million pounds on buying two flats as a financial investment.

When she is the 'consort' of the Prime Minister who has tried to make the best higher education even more the preserve of the seriously rich than it is already.

When there is an enormous contradiction at the heart of her story. She says that the half a million pounds to buy the two flats came from a 'blind trust'. A blind trust is the Blairs' money administered by other people without the Blairs knowing the details: this to eliminate the possibility of the corrupt use of power by the Blairs for their own financial advantage. Without Tony Blair's agreement she would not be able then to dispose of the money locked up in a blind trust. She can't be telling the whole truth about that. Tony Blair knew!

Even so, the press campaign - aimed through his wife against the Prime Minister - has been whipped up out of very little.

Ms Blair used her friend and 'life-style guru' Carole Caplin's lover, Peter Foster, as her agent to purchase the flats in Bristol. Foster is not only a convicted fraud-merchant, he was, during his encounter with Cherie Blair, deep in the process of being deported as a criminal-record undesirable from Britain.

To reassure her friend, Caplin, Cherie Blair rang Foster's solicitor to enquire after his deportation case; she enquired into what judge would be handling it.

If you remember that she is a highly competent legal operator, the presumption has to be that she was pulling strings or intended to pull strings on behalf of her friend's lover.

In other words that she was doing what she does all the time as a barrister. Nothing illegal has been alleged against her. The 'scandal' and sensation is so far only something whipped up by the press and Tory opposition.

But so was the Profumo-Keeler affair of the early 60s, which massively discredited the Tory government of the day, indirectly led to the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and contributed greatly to the election of a Labour government a year later, for the first time in 13 years.

In substance, it didn't amount to much. Christine Keeler was fucking a Tory minister, a Russian attaché, and West Indian ganja-pushers, etc. A hue and cry focussed first on the 'security risk' implied in the fact that the minister, John Profumo, and the Russian were 'connected' through Christine Keeler. Profumo would tell Keeler military secrets which she would pass on to the Russians? That 'security risk' was imaginary, not real.

Then it span off into press outrage at the 'moral decadence' spotlighted by the revelation.

Profumo lied to Parliament about it and later had to resign because of that.

The Blair government is not the Tory government of 1963. It still has a great deal of credibility, and the opposition, unlike Harold Wilson's Labour Party, has none.

Yet the Blair Government is acquiring an image of shadiness and untrustworthiness.

It is seen as a government of people who fear the truth like the Devil fears holy water.

There have been many cases of corruption and suggested corruption on the fringes of the Government. None of them has touched the centre of government. Neither so far has Cheriegate. But the story isn't over yet.

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