David Cameron and the Greensill scandal is just the tip of the fatberg | Andrew Rawnsley

The ethics of government need a deep clean. That’s not likely to happen when Boris Johnson is prime ministerIt is in danger of becoming received wisdom that the Greensill affair is an example of “Tory sleaze” similar to that which polluted the party’s reputation in the late 1990s. They do not compare. I had a ringside seat for the seedy death throes of John Major’s government. The scandals of those years mainly involved hitherto obscure politicians being caught with their peckers out or their snouts in the trough. The tabloids discovered various Conservative MPs in bed with people who were not their wives, often a career-busting transgression then, but now so accepted that Boris Johnson can be prime minister. There were also some notorious cases of Tory backbenchers taking undeclared payments – “cash for questions” – to promote business interests in parliament. This swelled the public’s feeling that the Conservatives had been corrupted by a long stretch in power and contributed to their landslide defeat at the 1997 election, but none of it threw into question the integrity of government itself.The Greensill affair is several orders of magnitude more serious. A former prime minister is at the heart of this scandal that points to something rotten about how we are governed and is now embroiling not just politicians, but also the civil service. Continue reading...

The ethics of government need a deep clean. That’s not likely to happen when Boris Johnson is prime minister

It is in danger of becoming received wisdom that the Greensill affair is an example of “Tory sleaze” similar to that which polluted the party’s reputation in the late 1990s. They do not compare. I had a ringside seat for the seedy death throes of John Major’s government. The scandals of those years mainly involved hitherto obscure politicians being caught with their peckers out or their snouts in the trough. The tabloids discovered various Conservative MPs in bed with people who were not their wives, often a career-busting transgression then, but now so accepted that Boris Johnson can be prime minister. There were also some notorious cases of Tory backbenchers taking undeclared payments – “cash for questions” – to promote business interests in parliament. This swelled the public’s feeling that the Conservatives had been corrupted by a long stretch in power and contributed to their landslide defeat at the 1997 election, but none of it threw into question the integrity of government itself.

The Greensill affair is several orders of magnitude more serious. A former prime minister is at the heart of this scandal that points to something rotten about how we are governed and is now embroiling not just politicians, but also the civil service.

Continue reading...

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