Sadly my friend Iain Dale is wrong to declare that Ed Miliband is innocent. Let me clarify however. It's true to say that there is, as yet, no evidence, that his position in charge of Energy policy has been compromised by his relationship with his girlfriend who also happens to be a lawyer representing the German nuclear energy firm E.on that happens to want business in the UK.
However, to say that to question the potential conflict of interest is based on a school of thought that all "politicians are on the make or easy to influence in a malign way" is not right either. There is clearly a conflict of interest between Ed Miliband's position and power over nuclear policy and his personal life.
That's a matter of fact, it is reality, it is unquestionable. It does not mean that a decision he may or may not take has been influenced by her, it just means that it could be influenced by her and as such he should formally remove himself from being involved in that decision.
Having said this, the whole nuclear power policy and conflicts of interests in Government is not new news. What's more, given that we are so often told, like on the recent announcement about Cabinet minutes and Freedom of Information, that Cabinet take "collective responsibility" for decisions, there are wider issues with nulcear policy now surely?
After all, we now have four members of the Cabinet (one attending) compromised by conflicts of personal interest on the subject of nuclear policy, including the Prime Minister. The Energy Secretary alone would be bad enough, but we also know that Gordon Brown's own brother Andrew is head of corporate communications at French energy giant EDF with special strategic interest on nuclear. EDF, like E.on, would love to provide us with nuclear plants.
Then we have Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls. Cooper, (Housing minister, also with responsibility for planning, sustainable development and climate change) and Balls, (Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families) have a personal conflict of interest on nuclear energy too.
Cooper's father is the former Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, and is now a non-executive director of the Government quango known as the Nuclear Decommissiong Authority - a quango that needs nuclear power plants to be built in order to give them something to decommission and justify their funding (off-balance sheet natch!).
Let's not try to gloss over things here Iain and say that we should place blind trust that these personal relationships - not business relationships - are not and should not be of a concern unless one is uber-cynical. It doesn't matter whether they're influenced or not by these conflicts. The fact is, it doesn't look right, and it forms part of a vicious circle that perpetuates the school of thought you have argued against.
If one takes the starting assumption that all politicians are corrupt, and then one sees a situation that makes the nose twitch because there is the perception of a possible smell, then the starting assumption is affirmed and we go back to the beginning.
One of the most profound and absolutely correct things Blair ever said was his observation that politicians needed to be seen as "whiter than white". Yes, it didn't happen that way for him, but it didn't make his words any less true then than now. All of them are innocent until proven guilty - unlike so many of us proles these days - but in their roles of State they shouldn't be allowing themselves to be seen to be guilty by personal association, otherwise questions will always be asked.
Think of this counterfactual, if the Tories were in power and Ken Clarke was put in charge of reviewing the smoking ban with a remit to potentially reform it, would his links to British American Tobacco not be seen and questioned, quite rightly, as a conflict of interest? I say that as a smoker and a supporter of Forest too.
The bottom line is that members of the very highest offices in Government do have serious conflicts of interests in relation to nuclear power at a time when nuclear power expansion is on the agenda once more. Whatever ones opinion on nuclear power, for or against, it cannot surely be right to have a situtation where so many within the Brownite clique are so heavily linked by close personal relationships to the nuclear industry.... can it?