Questions may be raised over Blunkett’s gift of train tickets to his lover and her use of the ministerial car. His civil servants interviewing Mrs Quinn probably broke a ministerial code. Blunkett certainly shouldn’t have been running an alternative immigration service in his office, and if it emerges that he really did intervene in the visa application of Mrs Quinn’s nanny then he is toast. But I can’t believe he would have been stupid enough so to do. The other offences are “de minimis’’, as they say in Whitehall.That's not good enough. In other walks of life fiddling expenses can and does lead to losing one's job. I listened to Any Answers on the car radio yesterday. A local councillor phoned in to point out that he would have been called up in front of the standards committee had he signed off a mistress's train ticket. In all likelihood he would have been removed as a councillor. Unsurprisingly, the BBC's leftist Jonathan Dimbleby couldn't understand why the councillor was so upset.
I’m not saying it is all right for ministers to bend the rules, but there has to be a limit to the rigour with which essentially petty rules are enforced.
There was a good letter in yesterday's Herald that asked whether an ID card system would have prevented the issue of the controversial free rail ticket. I somehow think that ID cards will be aimed at the likes of "ordinary" people and not cabinet ministers and their friends.