Friday, July 20, 2007

Lord Levy's Relief

Just been watching Channel 4 News's coverage of today's news that the CPS has decided not to bring any charges against Lord Levy or indeed anyone else.

Am I the only one who thought that the massive grin across Levy's face, combined with his expressions not of satisafaction at being proven innocent but primarily of "relief", came across rather badly? This did not look to me like the demeanor of a man who has been exonerated of crimes of which he always knew he was innocent. It looks rather more to me like someone who is feeling very lucky to have got off so lightly.

We also now hear that Scotland Yard are really not at all happy with the outcome; the Guardian (and others) today reporting:

"Senior Scotland Yard figures were said to strongly disagree with the CPS decision [...]"

The investigators evidently felt that they did have a case, and that the CPS have bottled it. Of course, I don't know what the evidence was, and I could be wrong about my reading of Levy's facial expression.

But I think it's safe to say that Michael Portillo's reading of the situation on 'This Week' last night was pretty accurate: If this had just been left as a political scandal, it could have been moderately damaging. As it is, at SNP MP Angus MacNeil's request, the police were set the nigh-on impossible task of finding evidence capable of actually proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to a jury, that the allegations were true. The CPS have decided that they did not succeed in this; not a huge surprise. In setting this chain of events in motion, the SNP have ultimately handed Blair and Levy a (figurative) Get Out Of Jail Free card, wherein they can simply say that "the CPS did not prosecute anyone after an extensive Scotland Yard enquiry".

The fact remains that the whole thing looks pretty fishy. It's all very well to say "this is the way things have always been, they are political appointees after all", but to most people that's no excuse. If that's the way the system works, the system needs to go. The case for Lords reform has never been more urgent. So why has the government kicked it into the long grass?

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