"Politics with integrity"
Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy brought to my attention the first interesting story of this boring election:
You are a businessmen, you give a £50,000 donation to the Labour party, you get to have a business breakfast with the Prime Minister, you give a second donation of £50,000 to the Labour party while the government is weighing up who should be awarded a £32m contract you are bidding on. Surprise, you get awarded the contract, you make £20m profit on it. What value for money for the taxpayer, what a return on investment!
Loaded now, you give another £500,000 donation to New Labour, and get made a life peer by Mr Blair six weeks later. The amazing life and times of Paul Drayson and Tony Blair...
Scotsman.com News - Tony Blair's leadership - Getting cosy with Tony has a fuller round up of this story.
He banked £32 million after securing the contract to supply smallpox vaccines in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
And before that deal, PowderJect won a government contract to supply TB vaccines, although ministers insisted there was no connection between the contracts and the £50,000 donation to Labour made by Lord Drayson while the government was deciding who should be given the contract.
An inquiry by the National Audit Office found no link between Lord Draysonís gift and the initial contract.
The then health minister, Lord Hunt, was accused of misleading parliament by claiming the government had had no choice but to use PowderJect to get the smallpox supplies, even though Lord Draysonís firm was merely acting as a middleman.
The peer told the Lords that ministers were unable to go directly to Bavarian Nordic, the vaccineís manufacturer, because it had said it would deal only through Lord Drayson for contractual reasons.
But Asger Aamund, chairman of Bavarian Nordic, said he would have supplied the vaccine direct - cutting out Lord Drayson and saving taxpayers millions - but was never asked to do so. The National Audit Office criticised the handling of the deal but found no impropriety.
The BBC election website seems not to have a story on it yet - so will this just be yawned away as the sort of thing we now expect from Labour?
Not very long ago the one thing about British politics you could rely on was that the leaders were basically honest - wrong maybe but honest. We now have Prime Minister who is a unashamed liar - no one cares; Labour is up to its neck in sleaze that makes the few Tory chancers of the eighties rank amateurs - no one cares; we have massive election fraud - no one cares; we are ruled by the EU - an unaccountable pit of corruption - no one cares.
Before the election I had noticed how the US bloggers had held the candidates and press to the fire to help ensure decency and truth in their election. And I wondered if it would happen in the UK - it hasn't, because no-one cares that the body politic is rotten to the core.