Friday, 18 April 2008

Detached from Reality

There can, of course, be no excuse for faking e/mails in order to attempt to incriminate an innocent person. Indeed, there's no valid excuse for faking e/mails in order to incriminate a guilty person either.

So I had more than a little sympathy for Peter Hain after the revelations yesterday about some faked emails which attempted to suggest that he had misused facilities at a charity.

He goes too far, however, in claiming that these dirty tricks have cost him his job and his career. These particular 'dirty tricks' have only come to light after he had already been forced to resign for other reasons. His attempt to suggest that these latest e/mails are of a piece with the revelations which led to his downfall is, at best, disingenuous.

There is a world of difference between fake documents attempting to smear someone with false accusations, and genuine leaks which expose wrongdoing. Hain seems not to be able to grasp this vital difference.

Above all, his latest protestations indicate that he still does not accept that failing to disclose £100,000 in donations, in direct contravention of laws which his own government enacted, is in any way ‘wrong-doing’.

He keeps claiming that his experience is surreal. What I find not just surreal, but really rather sad, is his own inability to recognise firstly that he has committed an offence under electoral law, and secondly that there is widespread incredulity at the extent of his spending on an internal party election.


Normal Mouth said...

I have to agree. Peter Hain is a smart politician; he surely must realise that acknowledging his error, displaying a little culpability and moving on is the best way to deal with this incident - which, after all, is not that serious.

I can only conclude that he is genuinely aggrieved, and feels he has been had, and that is overriding his rational judgement about how to get past all of this.

Anonymous said...

Peter Hain's trying to rehabilitate himself because he's bored on the backbenches, of course he gonna play the victim in all this.

seems the 'detachment from reality' as you put it Ceredig extends to other labour party members when they think this is 'not all that serious'. It worrying for them and us.

Ceredig said...

Actually, Anon, I find myself not too far from Normal Mouth on this one. How serious is this really? Had it been a 'public' election, where a candidate spent twice as much as he claimed and hid the source of the funding, that would have been far more serious, but as it is, the only people Hain attempted to deceive were members of his own party.

As far as the undeclared donations are concerned, it probably was incompetence rather than deliberate deceipt, although I'm not sure that the same can be said about channeling money through a dodgy 'think tank' - there are still questions to be answered there, I feel.

It says a great deal about the Labour Party that they appear to have no internal rules or controls whatsoever on expenditure for an internal election, and it is a magnificent and ironic testimony to their obsession with passing new laws to deal with every problem that they have succeeded in criminalising the behaviour of their own members in such internal elections!

Having passed such a law, it was inevitable that a cabinet minister breaking it would find his position untenable. Hain himself appears to be determined to make things worse than they are by continuing to blame those who have exposed the crime rather then the person who actually committed it. Contrition and humility would have been a much better and more appropriate response. As it is, he continues to ignore the first law of holes - 'when you're in one, stop digging'.