Is the Greek goddess of divine retribution, and she just busted the lefty Brit who has been hunting Wolfowitz.

The Brit (my ellipsis):

(12.09.2006) Britain’s development minister Hilary Benn recently withheld World Bank funding in protest at the policies of its president, Paul Wolfowitz…

(Wolfowitz) has suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Chad, Argentina and Uzbekistan.

Wolfowitz also suspended debt relief to the Republic of Congo after bills showed its president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, had spent £169,000 on putting up himself and an entourage of 50 at the Palace Hotel in Madison Avenue, New York; anti-corruption groups pointed out that oil wealth benefited the elite and not the country’s poor, who live on less than £1.15 a day.

Thus Benn became a Wolfowitz sandbagger:

Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for International Development, said the scandal had damaged the bank and left the board to come to its own conclusions.

Today we learn why Benn is so unconcerned about corruption:

The Government has been plunged into a new sleaze row over a £233,000 “conflict of interest” shareholding held by Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary.

Revelations by The Sunday Telegraph about Mr Benn’s stake in a company that does work for his Whitehall department are a major blow to his political future…

The Ministerial Code puts the responsibility firmly on ministers to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest in their private financial matters. It states: “They should either dispose of any financial interest giving rise to the actual or apparent conflict or take alternative steps to prevent it.”

Mr Benn’s spokesman said that he had at all times acted strictly within the rules and is “shielded” from his department’s decision-making involving (the company he has stock in).

So Benn sandbagged Wolfowitz for firing his girlfriend to avoid a conflict of interest while himself nurturing a real conflict of interest.

What happens to this wretch will provide us with useful data. His behavior is typical in low trust governments like that of Poland, which has a corruption level (CPI*) of 3.7. So if he keeps his job, we can calibrate the Brit Labour government at that level.

If he’s shipped out to the EU Commission, this will confirms our diagnosis of that institution as being as corrupt as Hezbollah’s Lebanon (CPI 3.6).

* Note for newbies: the higher the CPI , the more trustworthy. Finland is top with CPI 9.6. the UK has CPI 8.6, Germany 8.0, the US 7.3 (that would be Congress), China 3.3, Russia 2.5, and Iran 2.7.


2 Responses to Nemesis

  1. dearieme says:

    Wonderfully entertaining, eh? As Mr Worstall points out, he got some of the shares as a gift from his lefty old father, presumably as a dodge to avoid Inheritance Tax. I am moved to propound a LAW: the only thing not “blind” about New Labour is its Blind Trusts.

  2. gandalf says:


    I’d go further – “blind trust” is like “social justice” and “New Labour”.

    An oxymoron.

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