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Sunday, 27 January 2008

Nu Labour's corrupt cabal falling like ninepins

Remember the old anecdote about the wealthy man and the barmaid? He had offered a million pounds to sleep with her, and she had accepted. He then asked "Would you sleep with me for a hundred pounds?". "No!" she replied, "What do you think I am?"

"We've already established what you are. All we're doing now is negotiating the price."

After Hain's resignation to spend more time with his sunbed, the sword of Damocles hangs over Harman, Alexander and, as today's papers reveal, Johnson. There must be a hope in Brown's dark heart that the referral of the matter to the police in Hain's case will not be repeated with the others; that his corruption was of £103,000 and therefore great, but that the others were less corrupt because the payments were smaller.

As the businessman in the anecdote might have said, we've already established what they are, and all that remains is to ascertain how much it took to corrupt them. Or, in the barmaid's eyes, that they were corrupted for small amounts makes them more culpable, not less.

As possessors of drugs have discovered, de minimis non curat lex does not prevent criminal charges being brought for small amounts, but the punishment on conviction may be adjusted according to the value of the haul.

So let's see the lot of 'em in the dock and let justice be done.

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