The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

"No favours but slightly quicker"

Blunkett claims he cannot remember asking for quicker processing of his girlfriend's nanny's visa application. If he is a man of integrity it is odd that such a transparent abuse of power should have slipped his memory.

I am aware that many will see it as a very minor transgression, especially as he explicitly called for "no favours". This is naive. We only have to put ourselves in the shoes of the career civil servant on whose desk the fast-tracked application arrived, to see how ridiculous it is to think that the "no favours" part of Blunkett's request should be followed.

Power doesn't work like this. Blunkett understands power, but he would have us believe that he doesn't. He pretends that he himself believed that his department would deal completely disinterestedly with the visa application despite the fact that he had shown an interest in the outcome by specifically associating himself with it.

There are shades of the Hinduja affair here. Let us hope that unlike Mandelson, Blunkett's resignation really does mark the end of his political career - though we have learned to regard political resignation as a matter of tactical retreat.

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