There has been much fuss about an independent review of former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of Greensill. What will come out of the review is anybody’s guess but I am not holding my breath.
I’m left wondering why now? Why this (potential) scandal when there have been so many other issues that, in mine and many others’ opinion, deserve just as much of a review? The government has been dragged through the courts on several occasions to come clean over contracting arrangements for example.
I wonder if it is to do with the characters involved. Does Johnson want to score one over his long-time and Bullingdon club rival or is it Sunak that he wishes to score points against? Does he feel that the chancellor has become too powerful and is the only real threat to his dominance of the party? I guess we may never know, though it could just be my suspicions running away with me.
My real interest though is in how independent the review on behalf of the Cabinet Office can be. It is to be led by Nigel Boardman, long-term partner at the international law firm Slaughter and May and once named one of GQ’s most connected men in Britain. These close connections to the worlds of finance and politics will prove very useful in any review but could lead it open to question.
I am not casting any aspersions on Boardman’s character, far from it, I have never met the man but I have doubts that any review can be truly independent. Any review. We all start from some position about any subject we care to think of. We can’t help forming opinions of people as soon as we meet them and it can be very difficult to shake these off. We also come with all of the people we’ve been in contact with, friends, colleagues and adversaries. Putting this aside will be very hard.
I doubt that there is such a thing as a truly independent review. It is very difficult to bite the hand that feeds (or may do so in the future). Let’s see.