Monday, March 06, 2006

Mrs Mill's Modern Manners

Your aloof and superior Pedant-General is reluctant to demean himself by commenting upon the ubiquitous grubbiness that is synonymous with life in the "Westminster bubble".

However, since DK is making such a fuss about Mrs Mills' appearance and since I couldn't resist this little image (with many thanks to the bright young things studying earnestly at Thornhill Lower School), here is my ha'p'orth:

There are broadly two views of the goings-on the Mills/Jowell household in the Sunday papers this weekend:
1) Jowell was in the process of being sold down the river by her husband and told him to sling his hook
2) Jowell sold her husband down the river to save her ministerial career.

To quote commenter John in Nosemonkey's thread on this topic, "The words 'not mutually exclusive' leap to mind".

Given that the Jowell finances seemed incredibly complicated - even by the standards of your average money-grubbing Tory sleaze merchant - it is quite possible that a "pattern had been set" and she rather blithely - and even more possibly naively - signed forms because she had been doing so for many years when she was not bound by the ministerial code and had long since lost track of her husband's dealings. After all, the one thing she did not have to worry about was where the money would come from to pay the mortgage installments each month.

Thus, it is more than likely that:
  • Jowell is rather worryingly naive;
  • She had no idea that the $600k was a bung from Berlusconi;
  • Her husband probably had a big dissemble in her general direction when the story first broke;
  • It subsequently transpired that he had indeed been lying to her and caused her and quite a number of others some considerable embarrassment;
  • She was, as a result, pretty thin on loyalty to him;
  • She saw no reason to jeopardise her job when she had done nothing wrong.
There are a few leaps of faith here, but nothing really ridiculous. If any of the following (non-exhaustive list of events) were subsequently come to light:
  • Jowell set up an introduction to Berlusconi for her husband;
  • Her husband took legal advice from any civil servant about how to conceal the bung and/or allow Jowell to stay within the letter of the ministerial code if not the spirit;
  • The Mills' repair on a regular basis to some secret lovenest and that the separation is just a sham to save face;
then we will all be well within our rights to ask for:
  • Jowell's head on a plate;
  • Mr Mills to be prosecuted for money laundering;
  • The money to be forfeit.
But even if they don't, one could ask quite what it is with Labour ministers - supposedly champions of the working classes - and their little blind spot for sums of the order of £350,000 .... Anyone else thinking of Mandelson?


Thersites said...

It was a joint mortgage and, although the liability may not be as individual and several as in a business partnership, it's pretty damn close! Jowell was either a fool or colluded, either way she's not fit for ministerial office.

ninme said...

Okay, the way I figure, from what I've gleaned from over here (without, in other words, doing any research to compensate for the fact that I am over here):

She had to have known what her husband was up to, because he wouldn't be stupid enough to do something that could compromise her without letting her know so she can cover herself in case it comes out, and keep herself clean in the meantime. If he didn't tell her this, then he's an ass and doesn't care anything about her, and she totally has to leave him. If either of these things is true, she's still been tainted, either by herself or by her ass of a husband, so she also needs to step down.

Ishmael said...

Golly gosh ninme, can't you feel her pain? Aren't you being a bit judgmental? She's a pretty straight kind of gal, after all. Tony Blair likes her. Good enough for most people surely?

ninme said...

Yes, my sympathy is overwhelming. She should be more careful in her spousal units in the future.