Sunday, 6 July 2008

Amazingly, I don't think Cameron has done anything wrong this time

The Sunday Mirror is claiming that David Cameron is mired in sleaze over free flights given to him by a charity boss. I'm all in favour of the newspapers investigating misdeeds, but I don't think there is (or should be) one here.

As far as I can gather, Cameron and his family were flown by this businessman/charity boss to a meeting where the businessman/charity boss pitched his idea. Then they were flown home again.

Politics is meant to be about ideas. Cameron and the Tories are clearly desperate for new ideas and so it is perfectly reasonable for them to meet with people who might be able to help. The fact that the boss provided the means of transport and that this was a private plane seems unimportant.

To complicate things slightly, the boss has also given donations (properly registered) to the Tories previously. Unless some link between these donations and promises to take specific action once in Government can be proven, then again this is a red herring.

In other sleaze news, George Osborne is said to have accepted money for giving a speech when internal Tory rules prohibit this. To be clear, no law was broken. There are calls for him to pay the money back. Again, I'm on his side. If no law has been broken then he should be free to do what he wants. The public might view him as an untrustworthy money-grabber who cannot abide by his own party's rules, and they have every right to judge him appropriately, but it is not a matter on which other party MPs should be commenting.

It is quite clear that the media is continuing on its witch hunt of MPs over sleaze and expenses. Fair enough. But they should be sticking to those matters where there really is sleaze and not trying to pretend that internal and trivial matters are worthy of the same banner headlines.

There are more than enough meaty stories to go around at the moment. The Ray Lewis saga appears to show that Boris is slapdash in his decision making. The expenses vote shows that there are a lot of MPs who are happy to trough it. I know that all newspaper editors always want new angles, but please refrain from making them up.

1 comment:

The Burbler said...

Agreed that if he declared the flight then I don't see the problem. I also note that Cameron registered a flight courtesy of the Barclay Brothers to their fortress on Brecqhou - which I don't think got the splash treatment in the tabloids.

By the way, the Mirror story you link to doesn't include anything about Cameron's free flight courtesy of the charity boss. That story is here in the Mail on Sunday: