And so it begins...
Lord Levy's arrest is a terrible blow for this Government (Blair in particular but also Brown) which now clings to the trappings of power and office like a limpet to the base of a trawler. This is a shameful moment for all involved with the Government. The police are to be commended for taking action as they have and for conducting what would seem to be a thorough and patient investigation. Credit is also due to those who have covered this and ensured the issue stays in the public spotlight. None more so than Paul Staines.
Perhaps more disgracing to the country than the mere arrest of Levy, however, is Number 10's response. Asked if he had any reaction to the news that Lord Levy had been arrested, the prime minister's official spokesman said: "I cannot comment on that, it is a party matter."
Is it hell. The Honours (Prevention of Abuses ) Act 1925, under which it's understood his Lordship has been arrested, aims to strike directly at the exercise of public power. This is not about some party fund-raising (though that may well be their feeble defence), but about an entire system under which it appears Downing Street's Labour-promoting operation was given money on the basis that that would grease the wheels which delivered honours.
What's more the Labour Party treasurer, Jack Dromey, made it abundantly clear earlier in the year that the Labour Party hierarchy did not know about the extensive fund-raising being undertaken "in Labour's name" but by and for Number 10.
Levy is and should be considered innocent until proven guilty. There is, however, from details in the public domain clearly rot at the top. It shames our country. It has to stop.
If only David Cameron didn't want to go further towards nationalising parties with more state-funding... He should drop that idea now, and pledge a firm cap on donations from any source.