As frequently detailed on this site, Jack Straw’s relationship with British Aerospace has been a consistent thread in his political career and in government he has been especially helpful to them, over the sale of Hawk jets to Indonesia, the stopping of the Saudi bribes investigation, corruption allegations in Tanzania, and doubtless in other ways I do not yet know fully about. Not to menoion the billions in arms sales they have made from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which he helped to promote. It probably was not entirely unhelpful either that Jack Straw’s wife, Alice Perkins, held Treasury and Cabinet Office jobs which involved policy on defence spending. Among the benefits to Jack Straw which are declared in public are substantial payments for his election expenses by a BAE director.
The huge bribes which the sleazebags in BAE gave to disgusting Saudi crooks were channelled through middlemen including Wafic Said.
As the Guardian politely puts it: “Wafic Said is one of Britain’s wealthiest men. But how he accumulated his estimated £1bn fortune is somewhat opaque.”
In other words, he is a crook.
But in this brave new world where Universities exist not to advance the sum of human knowledge, but to oil the wheels of commerce, being a succesful crook opens the door to governing boards and gilded statues amidst the groves of academe. Witness the (vomit warning) Oxford University Wafic Said Business School.
And who is this on the Said School’s Business Advisory Forum – oh look – it’s Alice Perkins, aka Mrs Jack Straw!!
Some may think it is a bit strange for the wife of the Minister for Justice (sic) and Lord Chancellor to sit on the board of the foundation of a suspect in a major crime who has just been let off by the government on grounds of “National Security”. But in these brave days of New Labour, it doesn’t matter at all.
Jack Straw’s wife was a senior civil servant and I am sure she was entirely competent. But there are many thousand retired public employees around of equivalent rank, and they don’t get nominated to positions by dodgy Arab arms dealers, or for that matter to the board of that rip-off mis-managed monopoly, the British Airports Authority.
Incidentally, there are some lovely people on the board of Said’s business school. There is the former chairman of Centrica, owners of British Gas who just put the price of fuel up 35%. And there is the former chairman of the Charities Commission. See my post on the Smith Institute immediately below.