Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Peter Hain's future is on hold while the Government awaits the outcome of the investigations by the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Hints are already being dropped by sources close to the Electoral Commission that, frustrated by their own inability to impose penalties, the whole matter may be referred to the police.

By all accounts the Hain campaign was 'chaotic'. Hain's excuse was that his duties as a cabinet minister led to carelessness over reporting donations, although that shows a lack of respect for the regulations. Goody two shoes Harriet Harman was also careful to appoint a 'whiter than white' treasurer to keep an eye on that aspect of her campaign.

One of the most peculiar aspects of the whole matter is the use of a think tank, the Progressive Policies Forum, which never appears to have done any thinking - or at least produce any tangible evidence of it. It appears to have functioned somewhat like one of the old conduit bodies that channelled funds to the Conservative Party.

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect all of this is the time, energy and money expended by the six candidates trying to capture the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, a non-job if there ever was.

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