Neil Hamilton, the ex-Tory MP who became disastrously embroiled
with the odious Mohammed al Fayed, of Harrods, is his own worst
His past arrogance and foolishness, combined now with his relentless
chase of publicity side by side with his battleaxe wife, make it hard
for respectable folks to speak up for him.
But that cannot hide the fact that he has been hounded out of office
without a criminal charge so far having been brought against him. The
same goes for Ian Greer’s career as a lobbyist. His business has been
wrecked even though he has never been arraigned in court for a breach of
the law. We may think that they both behaved reprehensibly. But let us
have no doubt that we have burned them like witches on the stake of
public opprobrium cultivated by the Guardian, whose ex-editor cheerfully
resorted to the deception of a cod-fax in the process.
Britain is swimming in very dangerous waters when it can ruin the lives
of individuals whose behaviour may fall well short of what is expected
of them yet breaks no laws. That means that we are all terminally at
risk to muckrakers. We would certainly do well never again to piously
claim that this nation is governed by the rule of law when manifestly it
dances to the tune of propagated popular prejudice.
But that is not the worst of the Hamilton affair. The nauseating stench
surrounding it is summarised on pages 148-149 of the Guardian’s book
chronicling its version of the Hamilton/Greer affair and inevitably
Commenting on Mr Hamilton’s decision, having become a Minister, to
distance himself from Mr al Fayed, it says: ’One can detect a cultural
difference here: in some circles it might have been considered a point
of honour that, once bribed, you stayed bribed. For Hamilton, however,
no sense of obligation apparently remained ... Of course, Mohammed al
Fayed was unlikely to take that sort of cynicism lying down’.
I reiterate that passage at every opportunity. Not only does it
demonstrate the Guardian’s double standards between what it describes as
bribed and briber. Far more alarmingly, it exposes the utter
shallowness, not say incompetence, of our Parliamentarians. And not
merely ordinary wet-behind-the-ears Parliamentarians, but none less than
the august Commons’ Standards and Privileges Committee. A majority has
just ’convicted’ Mr Hamilton of conduct unbecoming an MP without so much
as hearing a word from his accuser - or ’briber’ as the Guardian puts
it - the aforesaid al Fayed.
Frankly, I think Mr Ratner’s jewellery is more wholesome than this
misbegotten committee which certainly has no concept of justice, still
less that it should be seen to be done. It stinks.