Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Serious farce: part 2

The full scale of the pressure applied to the SFO to drop the investigation into BAe is slowly beginning to emerge. Seven times was Robert Wardle, head of the SFO, pressed to drop it; three by the solicitor general Mike O'Brien, once by BAe themselves ("Please don't pursue us. It might stop us winning more business" seems to be the reasoning) and, scarcely incredulously, three times by the Prime Minister.
All of this slightly softens my attitude to the SFO, but only slightly. If those three parties were so insistent that the SFO should drop it, I think I'd have been keener still to uncover what had gone on, especially as MI6 has never claimed that national security could have been at risk (which I find a spurious defence anyway).
The tinkering of the PM brings ever more serious charges that the SFO is no longer an independent prosecutor and totally wipes away any claim that Blair - and, by association, Britain - could possibly have of being an anti-corruption champion. It's just more rank hypocrisy at the top of the British government, although I get the feeling this is something that will run and run.

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