Bliar’s £1m Iraq pay-off

I haven’t been posting much this week. Not on this blog (check out my first post on Throw Away Your Telescreen).

Now, the reason for not posting is because crazy shit like this keeps knocking me out:

Tony Blair has taken a lucrative job with a U.S. bank which is profiting from the Iraq war.

JPMorgan is expected to pay him £1million a year as a part-time adviser.

It is the first of a series of posts that could see the former prime minister rake in a staggering £40million.

The move brought fierce criticism last night. Reg Keys, whose soldier son Tom was killed in Iraq in 2003, said it was “almost akin to taking blood money”.

He added: “If he had a conscience or any sensitivity, he would not have taken this job”.

Tory defence spokesman Gerald Howarth said: “It will be viewed with some contempt by the armed forces that he picks up this large cheque when he was happy to send British troops into battle ill-equipped and in insufficient numbers.”

JPMorgan is heading a consortium set to make billions as Iraq’s economy recovers from the war spearheaded by Mr Blair and U.S. President George Bush.

It was chosen to run the new Trade Bank of Iraq, which has raised billions in trade guarantees by mortgaging future oil production and will make huge profits from the deals.

Westminster watchdogs have ordered Mr Blair not to attempt to lobby his former Government colleagues on behalf of the bank for the next 12 months.

Hain’s 103,000 pound puzzle

As my blogging chum Wonko says, Hain’s fucked:

Just how much sleaze, fraud and rampant corruption can Liebour expect us to accept? Have they been taking lessons from the Italians? This party really has to be closed down – they’re riddled with fraud and corruption from the top down. Hain’s resignation should have been on No Mandate Brown’s desk as soon as it became public that he had broken the law and lied to the electorate about the donations made through the PPF without permission of the donors.

When he’s not sacking disabled Remploy workers as Work and Pensions minister, he’s trying to stall the devolution process as Welsh Secretary.

So here’s what Plaid Cymru MP, Adam Price had to say on the subject:

No politician is perfect. We’re human beings who, by definition, make mistakes and misjudgements, have bad days and have fits of forgetfulness like everyone else. As such, even Cabinet Ministers should be forgiven for the occasional demonstration of human imperfection. But Peter Hain’s defence – if it can be so described – that his campaign was in a state of chaos simply won’t wash. Seventeen separate donations, some of which were re-routed through a think-tank which nobody has ever heard of and which has never produced any reports, many of which were personally solicited by Peter Hain, coming to a grand total of £103,000 cannot be explained away as ‘administrative error’ or temporary amnesia. We should take at face value the claim that nobody set out to conceal the truth. But there is a continuum which begins with ordinary incompetence, which when people get away with it, soon becomes complacency, then arrogance, and finally a wilful disregard to the rules and total disdain for the public right to know.

Peter Hain should have known that when politics and money collide, it is politics that usually comes off worst. That’s why we introduced rules about transparency. When money changes hands between businessmen and politicians, we need to see the hands to check there are no strings.

Now that we know some of Hain’s backers we see revealed the political journey which he has made. To accept money from Isaac Kaye, a man, who according to the Guardian, bankrolled the pro-apartheid National Party in South Africa and was caught up in a “cash-for-influence” political scandal there as a result, who was found guilty in the US of breaching workers’ rights by banning trade unions, and, most despicably of all, whose company was charged by the Serious Fraud Office of deliberately defrauding the NHS in England of millions and is now under investigation for the same in Wales as announced by Edwina Hart this week, is simply unacceptable from an elected representative. Let’s not beat about the bush here: money defrauded from the NHS is money that should have been used saving lives not feathering Mr Kaye and his other directors’ nests. That the Secretary of State for Wales should think it fit to accept a penny from a man such as this is to betray every principle that the Labour Party and Mr Hain himself once held dear. It is a hypocrisy on grand scale – no wonder there was no rush to register it.

The Prime Minister has a simple choice now – does he want a future for honest politics in this country or does he want a future for Mr Hain, as it’s patently clear he cannot have both.