Magazine article The Spectator

Getting Away with It

Magazine article The Spectator

Getting Away with It

Article excerpt



There's a marvellous scene in Hucklebeny Finn in which Colonel Sherburn faces down a mob that has come to lynch him. With the gang at his doorstep, the good colonel appears at a window cradling a rifle in his arms. 'The idea of you lynching anybody!' laughs Sherburn. 'It's amusing. Why a man's safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind - as long as it's daytime and you're not behind him. . .'

I thought of Colonel Sherburn when a bewigged buffoon gave Ralph Harris until the end of February to reveal the names of those who gave L5,000 or more to the Neil Hamilton fighting fund. If Harris is a man he'll tell the bewigged one to take a flying you know what. If he's like the Huckleberry mob, well, we are, after all, living in the age of Clinton and Blair. Let's face it, lies and spin have triumphed over truth and honour. After seven years of exposure, the Clintons remain unfazed by truth. After 1,000 days, ditto Tony Blair. Both Clinton and Blair are under the media's protection. That's why neither has been laughed out of town. Personally, I'll take the Beast of Bolsover any day over Blair, and then some. Matthew Parris got it right when he wrote in The Spectator that Blair will one day disappear without a legacy, just lotsa spin.

If ever there was a gang that couldn't shoot straight it's Tony's bunch, yet they're getting away with it like gangbusters. Jack Straw, a man with a downstairs body trapped in a downstairs mind, is proposing to create a lawyers' Shangri La with his plan to ban indirect racism. What a clown! As if the problem of young black hoodlums mugging old ladies in Mayfair and Belgravia wasn't bad enough. The first time one of them is caught he could claim unfair treatment for not being allowed to keep the Rolex.

Mind you, I had a world scoop intended to appear on these here pages, but then 'I thought better of it. It might look like a low blow against a much weaker competitor. So I decided to give it to the New Statesman instead. There's a big shot walking around, a friend of Tony Blair, a man who once was left a fortune by a mysterious Belgian countess, or was she Italian? The man used to work with Robert Maxwell, sold a flat to Gordon Brown, gave hundreds of thousands of pounds to New Labour, lent money to Peter Mandelson, and generally acted in a similar manner as good old boys used to in Chicago during the Roaring Twenties. …

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