Daily archives: March 2, 2006

Who actually believes this?

I now learn that Tessa Jowell not only claims that she did not know that her husband had received $600,000, but did not know that her own mortgage had been paid off.

I simply do not believe her. Let me be perfectly plain. I am calling her a liar. Go on, sue me.

I recently paid off my mortgage. That involves paperwork. It also involves the deeds of the house being sent from the mortgage company. This is a very careful and important transaction, and the mortgage company will make absolutely certain that it has the agreement of all parties to the mortgage as to where the deeds are being sent. Paying off a mortgage in your name is simply not the sort of thing you can miss happening.

Presumably she also didn’t notice for four years she wasn’t receiving any mortgage statements.

Who does believe her? I should be most grateful if anyone who does believe her could sign in and leave a comment. In fact, please sign in and tell me whatever you think. (I am sorry about the signing in, but it isn’t painful and has reduced the porno spam in which we would otherwise be drowning).

One last thought. If you do believe her, do you think that a woman who does not know if her own home is mortgaged or not, who does not know her family income within the odd 600 thousand dollars or so, is a sensible person to put in charge of an Olympic Games?

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I thought I had heard it all

Sir Gus O’Whitewash has ruled. Tessa Jowell did not break the rules because for four years David Mills did not tell her he had received what he then believed was a gift of $600,000.

How nice it must be to be so fabulously wealthy that a gift of $600,000 is so unimportant to you that you do not even bother to mention it to your partner!

Actually, I have a lot of experience of the very rich, and they are much more obsessed with money than the poor, and certainly talk about it more. I just don’t believe Jowell.

This is particularly true as the money was used to pay off a large remortgage which she herself had just taken out. She is now saying that she didn’t have any idea, or apparently ask, where all the money to pay off the mortgage came from.

There is also a peculiar bit of reasoning by Sir Gus O’Whitewash. Jowell alleges that she did not know about the money for four years, and by that time tax was paid for it, so it had become earnings, not a gift.

Actually, that doesn’t follow. If you receive a large cash gift it is still classed as income, and taxable.

Of course, what we still do not know, is who this money came from, and why. If it did not come from Berlusconi or from another illegitimate source, show us the paper trail. It is inconceivable that such a large sum from any legitimate source is not documented.

That money was used to pay off a mortgage which was 50% in Jowell’s name. So to accept it is only her husband’s business is simply nonsense.

Whitehall’s whitewash has become so watery as to cover up nothing.

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Ambassador memoirs put UK officials on edge

'Colourful comic' Steve Coogan

From Greatreporter.com

Few things sell a film better than intrigue and curiosity. Good news for director Michael Winterbottom. Bad news for the British government…

Winterbottom has just optioned Murder in Samarkand, the as-yet unpublished memoirs of Britain’s former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. The interest is heightened by Winterbottom’s seemingly odd assertion that the book is “very, very funny” and his proposed casting of the colourful comic Steve Coogan as the ousted ambassador.

For a book that contains descriptions of torture, ranging from people being boiled alive to those who had their children beaten to a pulp in front of them while they are chained upside-down, this surely has to be seen to be believed.

Murray’s book, which, court-wrangles permitting, will make his denunciations of the government’s foreign policy available from bookshops everywhere in June, alleges complicity on the part of Number 10 and the Foreign Office with the torture and corruption Mr Murray claims he witnessed while on duty in the former Soviet state.

Murray is now a prominent critic of Western policy in the region.

The government has, of course, denied the allegations, and is threatening legal action on the grounds of libel, Crown Copyright, breach of confidence and the Official Secrets Act.

Following the relative ease with which the memoirs of Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s erstwhile ambassador to the US, made it into the public domain last November, it is rumoured that attempts to block Murder in Samarkand’s publication will be especially forceful.

This is eminently credible, but more because Murray’s book is primed to be rather more damaging to the people who would have it censored, than because of any feeling of ‘missing out’ last time. But with a film now due, attempts to obstruct Murray’s book could well backfire, generating publicity the publishers, would no doubt be delighted with.

Partners in Crime

Like Mr Murray, Mr Winterbottom is no stranger to controversy.

His latest film, The Road to Guantanamo, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February, tells the story of three British Muslims who were held in the infamous American naval base for two years before being released in March 2004.

The film made the headlines not just for its content, but also because when the actors returned to Luton airport from Berlin, six of them were stopped and questioned under the Terrorism Act.

It is something prospective actors for ‘Murder’ might want to bear in mind when work starts on the film in 2007.

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