The hounding of Hamilton has paved the way for trial by media

Neil Hamilton, the ex-Tory MP who became disastrously embroiled with the odious Mohammed al Fayed, of Harrods, is his own worst enemy.

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

entitled Sleaze.

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.

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