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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Rotten Heart of New Labour

Today's Mail on Sunday reports:

Labour has been plunged into a cash-for-access row after three former Cabinet Ministers were secretly filmed discussing how they could help a fake lobbying company – with one boasting that he was a ‘cab for hire’ for £5,000 a day.

In the most damaging revelations, ex-Transport Minister Stephen Byers (above) claimed that he managed to save ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ for one company by using his influence with his successor Lord Adonis over a rail franchise.

Mr Byers also claimed that he had boosted the business interests of Tesco by phoning Peter Mandelson, and said that he could bring Tony Blair to meet clients of the lobbying company which was, in fact, a front for an undercover operation.

Mr Byers is seen boasting on camera that he persuaded Lord Adonis to alter the terms of a rail franchise on behalf of National Express, a move worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the company.

Read more about this story, which tells you everything you need to know about how British ‘democracy’ works in 2010, here.

And don’t forget to watch the New Labour money-grabbers being caught in the act on Dispatches on Monday night on C4.

UPDATE: Peter McKay writes:
All three are former Labour Cabinet ministers. All three are disciples of Tony Blair. They are the true Heirs to Blair.
Messrs Byers and Hoon, along with Ms Hewitt, are small fry in the murky waters of public/private commerce. Blair is the Great White Shark.

And in case you missed it, here's the latest news on the Great White Shark.


jock mctrousers said...

While there's some satisfaction to be had out of Byers, Hoon and Hewitt (especially) getting 'caught', it's diminished by the awareness that all it's going to mean in effect is the Eton rifles getting their chance to pig out for the next few years.

David Lindsay said...

What "influence", exactly, have these embittered, retiring has-beens, that anyone might consider stumping up hard cash in order to buy it? At least more than anything else, they are guilty of having allowed their vanity to be flattered.

David Lindsay said...

Then again, like that equally preposterous, and also retiring, old Trot, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers has repeatedly been the subject of extravagant praise from Michael Gove.

Byers and the rest of those caught whoring themselves may in fact have no influence to sell under Brown. But they certainly would have under the Heirs to Blair.

The petition to the Queen, to strip the neither Right nor Honourable Byers of his Privy Council membership, is at

Anonymous said...

The ****** from oop North where I live.

I actually worked with his campaign team to get him elected in the 80s.

Oh, the deep shame.

David Lindsay said...

Just one more thing. Isn't Patricia Hewitt awful? She is like a character played by Joyce Grenfell. Except that, at least intentionally, she is in no sense a joke. On the contrary, she could not possibly take herself more seriously.

Note that it is no longer considered newsworthy that a sitting Labour MP and former Health Secretary is now mostly a paid lobbyist for private healthcare. Note how she, entirely matter-of-factly, treated all the Westminster Village think tanks in general, and Policy Exchange and Demos in particular, as a single organisation, and that motivated by absolutely nothing except pecuniary greed. Note her equally nonchalant, and equally accurate, treatment of the circuses that are now the party conferences. And note her utter contempt for constituencies and constituents.

Hewitt has form, and plenty of it. I do not just mean her securing of employment from Neil Kinnock by writing him a gushing letter of support during his Leadership campaign, exactly the same as the one sent simultaneously to Roy Hattersley. For its role in the DeLorean swindle, Arthur Andersen was for many years banned from government contracts, and a protracted action was undertaken to recover the money stolen from the British taxpayer. But within about five minutes of New Labour's election, Patricia Hewitt, lately Head of Research at Andersen Consulting, had ensured both the lifting of that ban and the ending of that action. During her time at the DTI, she blocked every effort to prevent auditors from selling the services that they were auditing, and she attempted to limit their liability if they signed off dodgy or downright fraudulent accounts, as Andersen did for Enron.

Even more than Byers, Hewitt is the ultimate, the archetypal New Labour figure, of exactly the kind that would be restored to running the country under David Cameron.

Anonymous said...

You are displaying your anti-Trotskyist credentials by going after Byers. Well done!

vladimir gagic said...

a great article I found attacking new labour and the neoliberal movement. It explains in detail why austerity is such a bad idea.