British vs. American Sensibility
Hi. Back from the ether void. Just as something off the cuff, it had always struck me as inappropriate to impeach Bill Clinton over his Paula Jones testimony. I do think it was perjury but of such an immaterial nature that no prosecutor in his right mind would prosecute. It's like investigating a murder and prosecuting someone for lying about their weight. We all fudge sometimes. I'm really a 170 it's just that these 190 lbs is just "summer weight" and I'll take it off after the holidays... yeah right. I haven't weighed 170 lbs since I was 19 but sometimes keeping the fiction is part of the way we rationalize our decisions. Even when I got into working out, I just added tone and muscle ... didn't lose weight.
However to the point, here is an example of how something rather risque should be handled.
Blunkett apologises over lover's rail ticket
Tom Happold and Mark Oliver
Tuesday November 30, 2004
David Blunkett tonight admitted he had been wrong to give a first class rail ticket intended for MPs' spouses to his former mistress Kimberly Quinn and said he would repay the £180 cost.
A spokesman for the home secretary said that Mr Blunkett was sorry for the "genuine mistake" of giving a return train ticket from London to Doncaster to Mrs Quinn, with whom he had a three-year affair, which ended this summer.
The move came shortly after an inquiry into the possible misuse of his MPs rail warrant was announced by parliament's standards watchdog following a complaint from a member of the public. That inquiry by Sir Philip Mawer, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, will still go ahead despite Mr Blunkett's apology and offer of repayment.
The home secretary had previously maintained the ticket was justified because he was, at the time, in a relationship with Mrs Quinn, the publisher of the Spectator, who is now reconciled with her husband, Vogue publisher Stephen Quinn.
A Home Office spokesman said tonight: "David has always said that if he had breached parliamentary rules over issuing a return ticket for spouses to Kimberley Fortier he would be willing to reimburse the House. Having examined the detailed rules today he realises he has made a genuine mistake and will be repaying the cost of the ticket to the parliamentary authorities and apologise for his mistake."
Mr Blunkett is also the subject of an independent inquiry announced yesterday into claims he used his ministerial position to speed up a visa application for Mrs Quinn's Filipina nanny. This is a much more serious allegation.
A former Treasury economic adviser, Sir Alan Budd, has been appointed to investigate the claim. Some MPs have called for the Budd inquiry to be wider but it will just examine the issue of the visa. Mr Blunkett has insisted he is not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Mrs Quinn, who is two months pregnant, was in hospital today suffering from medical complications. Her husband said the problems were not serious but he did not know when she would be discharged.
See how things should be handled? An embaressment, sure. A minor investigation and probably a wrist slap. If everyone who expedited a visa for personal reasons were in jail however half the legislature would have to be jailed however. The woman was probably having the affair to make her husband jealous. She got to sleep with someone famous. Her husband got jealous and now he has her back. She has a baby on the way. Possibly even her husband's baby. Mr. Blunkett got what all men want, and all men want one thing in particular. No commitment on his part, a satisfying affair ended without clinginess in the breakup. True love? No it is not true love. But get your heart ripped out by true love and you'll find that maybe enjoyable affairs with definite closure are a bonus.
If not everyone happy, then at least no one impeached. A minor embaressment yes, but not a hijacking of the Constitutional powers of our government that while impeaching over a lie over an affair are ominiously quiet not six years later when the lies over the justification of a war rest unquietly along with the questions arising from not one but two suspect national elections. No we just won't all talk about that and will studiously ignore it despite the months and months of public hand-wringing and hyperbolic moralizing over someone lying about their sex lives. We all lie about our sex lives my friends when put on the spot, including me. I am no exception there.
If only we could say that the depth of our public corruption were politician's affairs, government travel vouchers, and resident visa favortism. That almost sounds quaintly innocent that a coverup could be over a marital indiscretion. Ah such days of innocence are not to be had here in America. Here we have no more coverups, for our crimes are committed in the eye of the public and we all quietly avert our gazes lest we offend social propriety by commenting on the corpse stenching up the sitting room.
UPDATE: As it turns out, Mr. Blunkett has resigned from government. Was I wrong about him getting a slap on the wrist? No. The reason why is two fold. First the investigations into him today did find him guilty only of a minor impropriety - of letting his mistress and lover use a railpass normally only useable by spouses. He has repaid the cost of the rail pass and apologized. Amusingly the investigation has turned up, not surprisingly, evidence of other ministers of Parliment also using passes inappropriately, so he has plenty of company. Also the more serious investigation, into whether not not he expedited a visa has found that while they can connect it to his office they cannot connect it to him personally. So he can always blame it on an overzealous aide. More importantly the report found no evidence of a coverup, so most of his supporters are relieved. He was guilty of two minor and I may say rather common indiscretions only and cooperated fully.
Secondly a new poll finds that 67% of the British public favors him returning to government after the next general election in 2005. They are already talking about it in media and government circles, about Blunkett's return as if it were a done deal. So the scoop is that Blunkett get's a leave of absence from work to pursue his child custody case, he has actually become more popular with the public, he got to look noble and resign on behalf of demanding to see his son and win good publicity for himself, and that Tony Blair in need of such a more popular minister after another year of Iraq dragging on is almost sure to bring him back.
So my original prediction of a mere wrist slap and pro forma punishment seems in fact to be unfolding as we speak. Blunkett has done himself a world of good by this turn of affairs. If you had asked me if there were any chance of him becoming prime minister before this I would have told you never. But his numbers have improved so much that it has to be considered that he is in the running now at least on the outside, with Brown as the inside track candidate as always. Perhaps Blair, Brown, then Blunkett?
And again there was no cover-up and the drama political was there but in the end, things remain much as they were. Hardly a Constitutional crisis one might add for a man to have a lover.