Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What conflict of interest?

Are the media going to be all over the Rod Aldridge story? They should be.

Something else worth remembering. As NoseMonkey's already pointed out, Capita was awarded a £177m public education contract in October 2004. At that time, the Guardian questioned that award. They said:
"The executive chairman of Capita, Rod Aldridge, is not a major Labour donor, but has attended Labour fundraising events and has advised the government on outsourcing."
Nothing damning. An eyebrow slighly raised perhaps.

In early 2004, the Rod Aldridge Charitable Foundation opened discussions concerning the establishment of a City Academy in Blackburn. (Document, from March 2004, as HTML or original Word format). The Academy was given the green light in November 2004. Rod's foundation has agreed to contribute £2m to the new school.

Clearly, buying the right to control a school isn't a direct donation to the Labour Party. It is, however, a large private financial investment into what at one time was Blair's flagship education policy. If memory serves, the flagship was flagging and in need of a bit of a boost at around that time. The executive chairman of a company which makes enormous profits from public sector contracts provided a boost to the tune of £2m. There can be no doubt that this will have pleased Mr Blair greatly.

If it looks like a fish and it smells like a fish, people are going to think it's fishy.

Over to the proper journalists.

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