Friday, February 02, 2007

Press almost hysterical over Cash for Honours

Channel 4, like every one else could do nothing but Lead on the news that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was questioned as a witness by police last Friday undertaking the Cash for Honours enquirey. Since that interview, or course, Lord Levy (Also known as Lord Cashpoint) has been rearrested and questioned on suspicion of Conspiracy to Pervert the course of Justice - though he was not charged.

Is this investigation picking up a pace to some fantastic climax as a government is pulled down by the scales of British Justice? The press would certainly like to think so, and of course they may as yet have their wish granted.

Equally plausible, however, is that the investigation is coming to a natural and rather uneventful close and the police are doing a final round of last minute interviews to help close the books. There is the worry here that they will throw a charge at someone just so it does not seem like they have been wasting time.

Of particular note today is the release of information about that interview last Friday. The Police requested of Blair that, for "operational reasons," the interview was kept quiet. Blair told very few people, not including his press people. The Police for their part also kept the knowledge of this interview to a minimum. Now, remember that there has been some ripe rumors concerning a mole, either in Downing Street or at Scotland Yard. The press have been reporting on this mole while using the info like crazy. Certainly more than one press shaped person must know from where the leaks are emanating. But suddenly, with this news black out, the mole was silenced. The press are furious!

We should know at the time, they squealed! It is our right!

Should they? Is it?

Personally I think the press have no automatic rights whatsoever. We, the public have rights - but not through the press, by ourselves on our own behalf. The press are just indignant that they have been caught out! Jon Snow at Channel 4 points out that the police requested silence as they did not want Levy to know that they had questioned Blair again. I think that is pushing it a little. I doubt me that Levy is a flight risk or that he has not been planning for all eventualities. This is a highly intelligent man - an accountant who was a highly successful impresario in the 60s and 70s. I cannot see that him not knowing that Blair had been interviewed would make a difference one way or another. He protests his innocence, and that is perfectly possible. Being innocent does not mean that one sits down and twiddles your fingers, however.

So what would those operational reasons be? I wonder if a little bit of Mole flushing has been going on ....

Toodle pip!