Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blinding the watchdog

In December, British Prime Minister Tony Blair forced his attorney-general to pull the plug on a Serious Fraud Office investigation of massive corruption by giant British arms dealer BAE. The SFO turned around and opened a second case against BAE, this time over payments made as part of an arms deal with Tanzania. Blair's answer to this troublesome watchdog which keeps investigating his friends? Disestablish them!

The move is breathtaking in its arrogance and its sheer lack of shame; not even Kenya (a country where official corruption is entrenched in the political system, and where politicians routinely impede attempts to investigate them) has dared take such a move. What next? Will he also disestablish the London Metropolitan Police Department for investigating his sale of peerages, or the Electoral Commission for investigating his party's failure to declare loans which were always intended to be donations?

But I guess in Blair's Britain nothing should be allowed to stop big companies from making money. Not even the law.