Is the net closing in on Labour sleaze?

Last updated at 10:36 15 April 2006

Maybe, just maybe, the state institutions that Mr Blair has so insidiously corrupted in his time in office - the Berlusconi-isation of Britain, if you like - are beginning to reassert their integrity.

Where the puny self-regulation so beloved of our political masters has failed, the investigation into the cash for honours scandal by Scotland Yard's Specialist Crime Directorate may just succeed.

With one arrest already, who knows what might happen when detectives start questioning the dozen embittered millionaires who bankrolled Labour's election campaign and have been dragged through the mud for their pains.

One of the 12, Chai Patel has already revealed that he was specifically asked to turn his £1.5million donation into a loan so that it could be kept secret.

Who asked him? Why, the PM's tennis partner and man of affairs, the unelected, non-tax-paying Lord Levy, of course.

His Lordship will have an uncomfortable Easter as he awaits a visit from the Yard. And who knows what the Downing Street e-mails seized by the police will reveal?

The tide is lapping very close indeed to Mr Blair's door.

For here is a Prime Minister who, from the moment he took a £1million gift from Bernie Ecclestone in return for a shift in policy, has been systematically corrupting public life in this country.

Forget the big money for big favours that's been the sordid modus operandi of New Labour, from the Hindujas to Lakshmi Mittal to Rod Aldridge of Capita.

It is the destruction of civil service impartiality, the emasculating of the Second Chamber and the politicisation of the police that have been so damaging.

Yes, we should inject a note of cautious scepticism. It's still probable that the very New Labour Sir Ian Blair of the Yard will come to the rescue of his namesake at Number 10.

But the genie is now out of the bottle. And for the first time Mr Blair and his acolytes must be feeling a tad uneasy.

Britannia reclaimed

The rise and fall of the British Empire was one of the great themes of global history but for decades has been a closed book for generations of schoolchildren.

The politically correct loathing of this country and its history that has imbued the educational establishment since the 1960s have left the average A Level student knowing far more about Hitler and Stalin than they do about our imperial past.

And what a past it was, shaping much of the modern world as well as helping to mould the society we live in today.

Yes, it made mistakes but on balance the Empire was benign and enlightened.

Despite this, the liberal consensus that dominates education views it as a source ofshameratherthanacauseforcelebration.

At long last, that's about to change with a new focus on the British Empire in the A Level syllabus. Forty years late, perhaps, but better late than never.

Provocative Pontiff

Pope Benedict XVI's Good Friday prayers were pure fire and brimstone as he spoke out in defence of the right to life and the family while railing against society's 'decadent narcissism' and the 'filth' that surrounds us.

It was robust, bruisingly so, and highly provocative. Many Catholics will take issue with his uncompromising message.

But how refreshing to hear a religious leader speak out with such passion and clarity on the great moral issues of the day.

What a contrast to the pious, politically correct platitudes of Dr Rowan Williams.

But then what do you expect from an Archbishop of Canterbury who recently opined that the Church should not be in the business of moral leadership?

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