Wow! What a week. The cash for peerages scandal has been really heating up. For those that haven't heard about this yet, basically the police are investigating whether the Labour government has been selling peerages (Lord, Lady, Baron etc) in return for donations to the party. This week though a key Blair aide, Ruth Turner, was arrested by police. She was questioned in relation to both the sale of peerages and, interestingly, perverting the course of justice. The arrest was provoked by the discovery of emails emanating from Miss Turner's workstation at 10 Downing Street suggesting that she may have acted as a go-between for Blair and one millionaire donor implicated in the scandal. Most worryingly though for Miss Turner, Tony Blair gave her his "full backing". Traditionally, for Ministers at least, Tony Blair's "full backing" is swiftly followed the end to the backed person's career.
Whatever the case may be though the scandal isn't going anywhere soon. The question of course is how deep the rabbit hole goes, or indeed if it exists at all. The implications are all too real; the scale of the scandal if proved, would be certain to topple an already unstable government. As is so often the case, time will tell. But at the moment it's not looking good for Labour.
Problems at the Home Office continue unabated. You'll remember from last week the shocking revelation that thousands of British citizens convicted of serious crimes abroad were able to return to the UK without their convictions being recorded domestically. Disastrously (as if it weren't disastrous enough already) this meant convicted paedophiles were able to secure jobs working with children. This week though John Reid, the Home Secretary, raised the bar of (already impressive) incompetence. Mr Reid urged judges to send only the most dangerous and persistent offenders to prison because... Britain's jails are running at capacity! Most alarming of course was the failure of the Home Office, and John Reid in particular, to see this problem coming. One would have thought prison capacity is a fairly basic thing - algebraic in fact. "Mr Reid if you have X prison places and Y places currently filled, what is Z where Z represents the number of places still available?".
The terrible effect of such a shocking level of ineptitude has of course already been felt. A man convicted of downloading child pornography escaped a prison sentence. In the words of the judge presiding, Judge John Rogers QC, "as of yesterday, I have to bear in mind a communication from the Home Secretary." John Reid clearly has a lot to answer for. It remains doubtful though whether Mr. Reid can in any way justify, indeed even explain, a situation where the sentence no longer fits the crime and is instead dictated by prison capacity.
However as is so often the case in Blighty, tragedy and comedy come together hand-in-hand. This week saw Gordon Brown, the man likely to succeed Blair, winning a significant victory. Yes, the Iron Chancellor, the man known more for his number-crunching than his personality, has been voted into the top 100 sexiest men in the UK (ranking 97th). But a victory for Brown does not a defeat for the Conservative Party make. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, charged ahead of Brown and reached the lofty heights of 87th place. How far they both are from number 10 though is a completely different matter altogether.
As for next week, who knows? One thing is (almost) certain though, the Home Office will be sure to raise (or should it be lower) the bar once again.