Sunday, March 12, 2006

Profumo And Blair

John Profumo died this week, 43 years after resigning from Parliament for lying about about an affair. By Profumo's standard, Blair's entire government should resign - but they won't.

Profumo was a courageous man - as the youngest MP in 1940, he voted against the appeaser Chamberlain, helping pave the way for Churchill. The sad story of his fall and the destruction of the young woman and her mentor is told in the movie Scandal.

In comparison with Blair's government, Profumo was a pillar of rectitude - here's the London Times, hat tip The England Project (my ellipsis):
On Friday Lord Falconer, the (Scottish) lord chancellor, blithely announced as if by ukase that the English people would not get equal rights to the Welsh and Scots within the British parliament...He implied that even to ask was impertinent.

Evidence of (dishonesty about allowing people to buy Lordships form Blair's socialists) was given on Friday by the aforementioned Falconer on the radio, when he was reduced to defending the prime minister by telling two blatant untruths. In the first place he stated that it was “absolutely not” possible to buy an honour from Tony Blair. It is. I know people who have. The late Lord Montague of Oxford boasted the fact to me. How else is it explicable that everyone who has given £1m to Labour has been given a knighthood or a peerage? I know of one expectant donor who was denied an honour by Blair’s “collector” on the grounds that he had not yet given enough.

Profumo atoned for his dishonesty, earning forgiveness:
Shortly after his resignation Profumo began to work as a volunteer at Toynbee
, a charity based in the East End of London, and continued to work there for the rest of his life. Eventually he became Toynbee Hall's chief fundraiser, and used his political skills and contacts to raise large sums of money. All this work was done as a volunteer, since Profumo was able to live on his inherited wealth. His wife also devoted herself to charity until her death in 1998. In the eyes of most commentators Profumo's charity work redeemed his reputation. The social reform campaigner Lord Longford said he "felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I've known in my lifetime".

I doubt that Blair will get such an obituary.