Since 2003, the Serious Fraud Office had been investigating claims that Saudi officials enjoyed prostitutes and luxury holidays paid for by a £60m 'slush fund' administered by BAE Systems, which supplied Tornado fighters under the Al-Yamamah arms deals of the 1980s and 1990s. However in December the government curtailed the investigation after it was reported that the Saudi authorities had suspended talks on a further multibillion pound deal to buy Eurofighter jets from BAE Systems.
The world's leading anti-bribery watchdog, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has written to the government demanding an explanation for its controversial decision. Laurence Cockcroft, director of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, described the government's decision to call off the SFO as 'a tremendous step backwards'.
Meanwhile in Blair’s Britain inequality between rich and poor continues to grow. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that income inequality in Britain rose by 40% between 1979 and 2001, a larger increase than in any other developed country, with a particularly pronounced divergence between the super-rich and the abject poor.
This benefit “cheats” campaign has coincided with the government stopping a corruption inquiry for no good reason and the first Prime Minister being interviewed by the police about cash for honours. It therefore seems hypocritical Blair to now crack down and scapegoat those workers whose hourly rate is so low that they must rely on benefit.