An appalling bind
"You go where the evidence takes you." So says Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner John Yates, the head of the 'cash for honours' investigation. His inquiries began wide, taking in politicians from all the main parties, but they'll end within weeks, focussed on one party, and one man - the occupant of No 10.
It's ironic that yesterday's letter to MPs - which denied that the police were leaking stories - has fuelled so many headlines. Friends of 'Yates of the Yard' insist though that he's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. Pursuing Tony Blair is dangerous, but not pursuing him, and being accused of a whitewash, could be more dangerous still.
The police seem to have realised that they simply could not justify not interviewing the PM - that that would fuel those who said it wasn't a serious inquiry. Now having said that, I am told that Blair has not been contacted, nor has his solicitor, to set a time or a place for an interview - though that is expected to happen. Nor indeed, contrary to some media reports, has Blair's chief of staff Jonathan Powell been reinterviewed by the police under caution - and nor indeed does he have a date for that.
It seems to me that the political world and the police are in the most appalling bind. The police have to be seen to be asking every question, interviewing every witness, and taking as long as it takes. In the meantime, the politicians simply cannot answer those allegations. So this goes on and on, with nudges and hints and winks, while we in the public will not know if anything is actually wrong for many, many months to come - almost certainly not until Tony Blair has left Downing Street.