Friday, May 08, 2009

If Cameron's Clean Is Brown A Dead Duck?

Ministers are desperately trying to change the narrative hiding behind the smokescreens, as shameful cabinet expenses blow up in their faces. But the squalid truth has been laid bare. The only question now: Are Cameron and top Tories in the clear?

Fighting a belated rearguard action, without a shred of morals between them, New Labour ministers are caught like rabbits in the full glare of the media headlights, rallying round each other to defend their sordid expenses scam

Under fire after the Telegraph blew the lid off the cabinet's expenses scandal, the headlines put Brown's name in the frame and his cleaning bill a stain on his character. Refusing to defend his ministers, Brown was left wriggling  and "just getting on with the job"

Another fine mess ministers have got themselves into. It's like watching a car-crash in slow motion and they have only themselves to blame. Only "following the rules" is a feeble defence that wouldn't stand up in the court of public opinion. 

The spin machine is working overtime trying to dig Brown and his bunch of greedy chancers out of a hole, putting up the smokescreens of 'smears' and 'chequebook journalism'. The obligatory mole-hunt isn't far behind.

Leaping to change the narrative and make out it's all the media's fault are two old hands. 

A senior New Labour MP, at the centre of a row over lobbyists links to parliament, Sir Stuart Bell and uber-spinner Mandelson. Mandelson bleating  about 'smears' is really all a bit rich.

Both should be treated with a large pinch of spinning salt in a pathetic attempt to spin away minister's shameful expenses.

Sure it will involve other political parties and it's a house of commons matter but this is the cabinet for goodness sake. How can any of them ever look their constituents straight in the eye again?

Bell kicked the ball off in March when he popped up on BBC Newsnight with allegations of an 'expenses for sales' scandal: "All of the receipts of 650-odd MPs, redacted and unredacted, are for sale at a price of £300,000, so I am told."

But only few months earlier, Bell was at the centre of a row over lobbyists' links in parliament, accused of failing to fully disclose their connections to business.

Sir Stuart, one of Blair's political knights for "services to parliament", was among three MPs accused by campaign group, Spinwatch, of withholding information from the electorate and parliament about their business activities, reported by the Guardian in January. 

One question lingers. Was Downing Street tipped off there was something in the air before Brown made his foolish YouTube video and made a mess of it all in the commons? 

It all boils down to public trust. And no doubt it may be all change when Tory expenses are revealed. Cameron this afternoon called on ministers to explain themselves. But quite frankly when it comes to expenses, who gives a toss about the Tories.

The Tories are not the government, yet. Revelations would have to be damn damaging to take the heat off Brown. If nothing much is raked up, the mud will stick on Brown and his cabinet, signing their death warrant as elections loom ever closer.

Can any punter put a name to the face of a top Tory? Cameron of course and perhaps Hague. But who cares about Osborne - except his enemies at the Telegraph and a BBC trying every twist and turn to turn the story away from its political masters. 

The shamed government is trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted, leaving the filthy state of the stables behind them. 

Caught with their snouts in the trough and without a shred of morals, they are left hiding behind rotten 'rules' which they've blatantly exploited to fund lavish lifestyles. 

Angry? That's one word for it. Taxpayers can think of many others. 

Interestingly some of the usual ministerial suspects are missing from today's revealing list which could be a taste of something nasty to come as the public is drip-fed the damaging diet. 

Nevertheless, Cameron, Hague and Osborne will now have to pray they'll come up smelling of roses and leave the other lot rotting in their own stench of sleaze and corruption. 

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