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Monday, October 16, 2006

Panorama reveal "bung culture" in politics

The government was thrown into chaos last night when the BBC programme Panorama revealed Labour made illegal approaches to Shaun Woodward before he signed for them in 1999. According to Panorama, Labour arranged secret meetings with turncoat Woodward before making official enquiries about his availability.

Tony Blair said he would not comment as he had not seen the footage due to a vote in the Commons. Tory leader David Cameron called for an independent inquiry, saying that if the accusations were true, Labour should be "banned from politics". Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats, would only say that this was further evidence of the need for proportional representation in the UK.

If the allegations prove true, they could be highly damaging for the government. It is only the latest in a series of high-profile transfer bust-ups affecting Britain's top clubs. Out of favour George Galloway signed for rival socialists Respect just weeks after being sacked by Labour for professional misconduct. Maverick Scottish left-winger Tommy Sheridan transferred to conference side Solidarity after former club SSP claimed he "refused to play for them".

According to anonymous insiders, Woodward could be only the tip of the iceberg. Tapping up is regarded as commonplace in government. England legend Winston Churchill was said to have been tapped up twice in his distinguished career. Churchill won government's ultimate prize in his first spell as Prime Minister - a World War - but failed to impress in his second stint with the club.

Woodward claimed his comments had been taken out of context, and that he had been bragging about his close relationship with Peter Mandelson in order to get a job. He said money not a factor in his decision to join Labour, saying "I have no interest in a ministerial salary. I joined Labour because I wanted to be part of a club that can win things."

About Me

Back after an extended exile from blogging. Depressing to be in opposition but likely to prompt more posts here.