Why Cameron will prop up Blair

That Tony Blair is now damaged goods is now beyond dispute. A man who came into power as the antidote to Tory sleaze, with a promise to be clean and ethical, now finds himself mired up to his neck in £14 million pounds worth. That the loans were ‘within the law’ matters not one jot. It is patently obvious that the intention was to circumvent the very transparency this government promised us.

Cameron won’t crow. Tories have long relied on rich benefactors and are in this deeper than Labour. But more than this, Cameron wants Blair to limp on for as long as possible. The more this discredited leader ignores his critics, the more unpopular he becomes. The more unpopular he becomes, the easier it is for Cameron to paint himself a credible alternative.

Many, if not most, other democracies have faced the inevitable truth: money corrupts, and excessive money corrupts excessively. It is time we stopped selling influence to those with the deepest pockets. The only answer is a severe cap on donations, accompanied by state funding of parties on an equitable formula.

This problem is not unique to Blair’s administration – but that it still exists is a betrayal. It is time to consign political patronage and bought peerages to the history books.

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