Wednesday, October 22, 2008

None dare call it treason

"Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason"

Sir John Harrington (1561-1612)

There is more to the Osborne affair than meets the eye.

The alleged facts are simple, in the words of Nat Rothschild's letter to The Times,

"George Osborne, who also accepted my hospitality, found the opportunity of meeting with Mr. Deripaska so good that he invited the Conservatives' fund raiser Andrew Feldman, who was staying nearby, to accompany him on to Mr. Deripaska's boat to solicit a donation. Since Mr. Deripaska is not a British citizen, it was subsequently suggested by Mr. Feldman during a conversation at which Mr. Deripaska was not present, that the donation was “channeled” through one of Mr. Deripaska's British companies. In a subsequent phone call in mid-September about one month later, Mr. Feldman again raised the issue of the donation with me. Mr. Deripaska decided that he did not wish to make any donation."

In other words, George Osborne was seeking an illegal donation from a Russian citizen and was prepared to find ways to bend the rules to ensure that the donation could be made.

Those are specific allegations.

However, despite the appalling error of judgement that this solicitation implies, the scandal is not just about Osborne. It is also about the huge network of business, personal and financial contacts between senior members of the Conservative Party and Russian business.

At least 20 Conservative Peers and MPs, including several former cabinet ministers, have take board positions with companies that do business entirely or largely with the Russian Federation. Many of these businesses have close links with the Kremlin or with Oligarchs known to be close to the Kremlin, including Oleg Deripaska himself.

These links have been highlighted by the fact that the Conservative Party was formally allied to Putin's United Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Indeed The Conservatives were prepared to support the election of a Russian as the representative of this human rights body- despite the disgusting human rights record of the Russian Federation, which long predates their foray into Georgia and includes the butchery of the Chechens by the corrupt and ill-disciplined Russian army. Russia is ranked as Not Free by Freedom House, but the Conservatives were prepared to treat with the Russian tyrannical regime instead of working with Christian Democratic Parties from our NATO allies.

Lord Rothschild, Nat Rothschild's father, knows Russia very well. He was a close business partner of Mikhail Khordokvsky, the founder of Yukos, who defied Vladimir Putin and ended up in jail- where he remains. Stephen Curtis, the head of Bank Menatep which was associated with Yukos died in a mysterious air crash at Bournemouth. The Rothschild family has seen at close hand the nature of the Silovik state- and is widely believed to regard the close links between the Kremlin and the Conservatives with concern.

The policy of the Kremlin has been to cultivate close relationships with senior European political figures. The most obvious is the former German leader, Gerhard Schroder whose controversial chairmanship of the Nordstrean Gas pipeline is widely regarded, especially here in Estonia, as corrupt. It seems quite logical that a wider policy of suborning Western politicians with financial inducements would include British politicians too.

The rebuttal that George Osborne has made points out that no donation was made. So what? That was not the allegation. Since George Osborne is not prepared to see Nat Rothschild in court, he should now resign.

However, far more important is that David Cameron must now clean the stables. He must start to purge all possible corrupt Russian influence from his party. Unless he does, then l'affaire Osborne may well be just the beginning of the scandal.

Russian money is involved in British politics for sinister ends. Those who choose to accept it are guilty of a lot more than a simple error of judgement.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are 2 other worthy sayings you might be aware of Consul. First as one Liberal once said "Publish and be damned". What a world you have us live in that Politicians must either rush to the sevices of Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne or resign. You know full well how long legal action can take and even if vindicated the damage can be great as it takes years.

Second Treason strange as I thought one had to betray information. The other saying is of course it is a matter of dates perhaps that should now be a matter of countries that Cicero likes. For on your standard why is not John McCain's campaign manager guilty as a former lobbyist for a Foreign Government. I wouldn't agree in any case. But for you oh yes wait it was the Georgian Government so that's all right then so long as Cicero likes the country concerned all is Ok. Putin is an extremely unpleasant autocrat but we deal with these all the time as a Country so let's not pretend otherwise eh Cicero.

Hard headed Conservative pragmatism v Liberal hypocrisy. Gladstone v Disraeli. Let the debate commence again.


Lepidus

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

The post is all the more disturbing because if true, what does it suggest about our beloved Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool, who was also the yacht and presumably not just for the vintage champagne?

Cicero said...

Lepidus, Treason is not the betrayal of information- it is the betrayal of one's country. Taking money from a representative of a hostile power and then changing your policies or language toards that power would most certainly be treason. In my view, your party has a case to answer.

Half Blood- I agree! Mandelson is a highly suspect figure.

Anonymous said...

Cicero

In that case why not charge everyone who works as a lobbyist for a Foreign Country. Permanently labelling powers hostile or not is a flawed aspect of Liberal thinking ever since Gladstone wanted the Turks bag and baggage out of Europe.

I note your silence on the first point. In America politicans simply accept or reject accusations publicly. They would be ridiculed if they tried to sue, and they are the better for it.

Lepdius

kiki said...
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