There’s an episode of The Simpsons, where Bart’s instant denial of wrong doing – “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it” etc. leads to a brief spell of fame, as his catchphrase catches on. The standard Labour government minister’s catchphrase must be “I didn’t know”, with the occasional “I wasn’t aware”, “I don’t recall” and so on. Consider: Tessa Jowell “wasn’t aware” that her husband had paid off their mortgage with a £300,000 “gift”. Similarly, Mr Tony “didn’t know” that the fragrant Cherie had splashed out £250,000+ on a luxury flat for their son. Jack Straw “couldn’t recall” why he had written “Zola Budd” in the margin of some papers about the Hinduja brothers’ application for citizenship. Peter Mandelson “wasn’t aware” that he should have declared his loan from a fellow minister to buy a bijou London property. John Prescott’s failure to pay eight years’ worth of council tax on one of his many homes was “an oversight”. And so it goes. This government was elected on the promise of honesty, transparency, plain dealing. You’ll permit me a hollow laugh…

CC BY-SA 4.0 It wasn’t me… by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.