The British media is having a terrific time biting itself in the armpits over the rights and wrongs of what Derek Draper did or didn't do or know of those plans to spread lies about Conservative MP's; the blogosphere congratulates Guido, quite rightly, on his coup, and the Labour party tries to blame it all on Margaret Thatcher (it's hard to be sure, but I think anyone who disagrees with Gordon Brown now becomes Margaret Thatcher); there is talk of going after the man at the top, who, they say, is likely to have known something about all of this plotting. I have bad news.
Nixon moments are very few. Even Clinton survived, despite everything that was known and much more that was suspected. Of course Brown depends on his Parliamentary party, but if they haven't taken him up a back alley yet then they're not going to before the election. It's very hard to get at the top man. In the 1980's the Socialist government of Felipe González formed a gang of thugs, known as GAL, within the Ministry of the Interior to attack ETA with its own methods, kidnapping, torturing, bombing and shooting known terrorist leaders who, for whatever reason, couldn't be reached by the law. This would have been an excellent idea. and nobody would have cared very much, if they hadn't made a monumental mess of it; most of their victims were not connected to ETA. In the end the Home Secretary, José Barrionuevo; the Security Minister, Rafel Vera; the Police Chief of Bilbao, Miguel Planchuelo; the Governor of Vizcaya, Julián Sancristobal; the General of the Guardia Civil, Enrigue Rodríguez Galindo and a few more were jailed, but the President himself wasn't touched. He was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover what his ministers and other appointees had been doing behind his back, and still appears from time to time to play the elder statesman. Few democratic governments have been more corrupt than Tony Blair's, which hasn't stopped him telling us all what to do, either.
Next year Gordon Brown will be lucky to be a quiz question, but not because of this; the achievement of Guido has been to frighten the life out of those who are trying to control us, as they realize that we (enough of us, anyway) not only refuse to listen but can answer them back. In the end politics is all about personalities, and if you bruise the ones who matter, the ones who most want to feel important, you can, up to a point, control them.
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