Three articles in The Independent today illustrate the essential rottenness at the heart of government:
Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man, was last night reported to have offered Labour a £2m bail-out. The donation from the Indian-born billionaire would help the party stave off financial ruin caused by the cash-for-honours scandal.
The Sunday Times claimed the deal had been negotiated by Tony Blair and Lord Levy, currently on bail having been arrested as part of the police investigation into the affair. Mr Mittal was at the centre of an earlier financial sleaze row when it emerged that Mr Blair had backed one of his business deals following a previous donation.
A Labour spokesman said: "Mr Mittal has been a committed supporter of the party for many years and any financial gift from one of the world's most successful businessmen is very welcome."
There was a time when political parties were not allowed to accept donations from foreign businessmen. But nowadays we give them UK passports, which I suppose makes it all right?
Government lawyers have provided legal advice to officials during the cash for honours affair, prompting accusations of a serious conflict of interest.
The Independent on Sunday has learned that lawyers from the Treasury solicitors department have scrutinised the law on the abuse of honours and even taken outside advice from leading barristers.
The involvement of government lawyers, who are accountable to the Attorney General, during the police inquiry is controversial because the Attorney General will play a key role in deciding whether the case should go to court. The revelation will also raise fresh questions about why the lawyers were called in on a Labour Party matter.
The old distinctions between party business and government business are just ignored?
Tony Blair enjoyed free airline upgrades worth thousands of pounds during his controversial holiday to the Miami mansion owned by Robin Gibb, the former Bee Gee, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
The Prime Minister yesterday faced fresh accusations of "freeloading" after it emerged that he and Cherie Blair were upgraded by British Airways to first class on two transatlantic flights during the Christmas break.
MPs said Mr Blair had become a national embarrassment for repeatedly failing to pay his own way. Mr Blair has taken "free" holidays worth more than £775,000 with wealthy hosts since taking office.
They include four holidays at a Barbados villa owned by Sir Cliff Richard.
Yesterday Mr Blair was accused of using his position to "blag" first class tickets to Miami, where he was staying at a luxurious house owned by Mr Gibb.
The upgrades are worth thousands of pounds. The cost of a first class return ticket to Miami is around £7,000, compared with an economy fare sold for as little as £350. A business class ticket costs around £3,500, depending on when the ticket is booked.