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Monday, March 13, 2006 

Blunkett: A victim, but one who can't face up to reality.

It seems almost too much of a coincidence that only two days after John Profumo died that David Blunkett won a massive libel victory against the People newspaper. The People, while seemingly not actually involved in the honeypot sting which targeted David Blunkett, instead made the most offensive and damning allegations: namely that Sally Anderson had been pregnant with his child and miscarried, after which he deserted her.

The People yesterday printed an apology, and has paid Blunkett a considerable amount of damages, which will no doubt help with the court costs over his paternity battle with Kimberley Quinn. That doesn't acquit them for their despicable story which they must have known was untrue. Even more despicable were the the setters up of the plot against Blunkett, the Daily Mail and the News of the World, likely in league with Max Clifford. Then there is Sally Anderson herself, who was probably out to grab a huge amount of money for her role in entrapping a vulnerable, depressed and lonely blind man.

That however is as far as the sympathy for David Blunkett should go. As the interview with him in the Guardian today makes clear, he is still in no way apologetic or willing to face up to the fact that he was wrong and needed to resign from parliament twice.

Mr Blunkett resigned from the cabinet in November over a separate story, that he had broken the ministerial code by taking up a business directorship and failing to seek the permission of the advisory committee on business interests. "I have made mistakes in the past, but when I have, I have always said so," he says.

But he says he was forced to quit because stories about his private life seemed never-ending. "A whole range of different elements came together to make a frenzy. "It contributed to the feeling that my personal life was clouding my political position and judgment," he says.

Not true. Only the tabloids were indulging in their own plots. The broadsheets were focusing on the fact that dear old David Blunkett had broken the ministerial code. It was likely Tony Blair that either finally got fed up with all the adverse publicity that was affecting the government, whether he said so to Blunkett in so many words or not. If we believe Blunkett's story at the time, he decided to resign in an apparent epiphany he had on leaving a meeting with Blair where he supposedly said he didn't have to resign.

"My integrity had been called into question, I was being called a liar, and I am not a liar. And I just think it is time that we stop viewing public figures as fair game. Throughout the autumn all I could hear was cash registers clinking as people made money out of me one way or another," he says.

He claims not to be a liar, but for someone who supposedly had a such a great memory that he remembered meetings in the 70s with residents he had while head of Sheffield council, it seems mightily strange that he forgot two things that in both cases led to his resignation. Blunkett himself isn't adverse to making money out of things, as shown by his decision to jump on the board of DNA Bioscience and buy a large amount of shares. He also had other directorships during his short hiatus from the cabinet. And now he's the Sun's replacement for Richard Littlejohn, working for the same people who turned on him when he was vulnerable.

Looking back on his return to the cabinet last May, Mr Blunkett says: "I should have been a Trappist monk. I should have seen that people were deeply resentful that I had come back so quickly ... I should have had a double lock on myself and realised that it was necessary to close everything down except the work ethic."

No one was resentful that he personally had come back so quickly. More were actually concerned that Blair should bring back someone who had used his position, directly or not, to help his lover's nanny gain a visa, at a time when the system was in chaos. Also of concern was his mental state, having been deeply affected by the way in which Kimberley Quinn had treated him. Their concerns were vindicated when it turned out that he had broken the ministerial code.

Blunkett needs to face up to the truth of the matter. He is little better than those who conspired against him, sucking a poisoned teat which can be removed as soon as its owner feels like it. He twice made mistakes which neither he nor his hero Blair have owned up to. It just seems odd that someone who has overcame so much difficulty and hardship should instead of helping others do the same has instead decided to indulge those that only want to weaken the downcast.

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