Monday, 22 June 2009

Were you listening, Gordon?

I've been looking back at some of the Comment is Free pieces I've written in the last year on the subject of the Iraq inquiry. I think I've been pretty consistent: I've never held up that much hope of it getting any nearer the truth than previous inquiries, especially if it's another establishment stitch-up.

In November, I asked what is Brown afraid of?
it appears that Brown plans to buy enough time through dithering to make sure that any political fallout comes after the next election.

I remain unconvinced that a new establishment inquiry will get to the bottom of the Iraq scandal, particularly if it is largely held behind closed doors. If there is a Hutton-style inquiry with witnesses questioned publicly, that should throw up some embarrassing moments, not to mention new leads for investigative journalists. But only the Lib Dems and smaller parties really want this type of inquiry. It looks as if Labour and the Tories will agree on a closed format something like the post-Falklands Franks inquiry. After the openness of Hutton and the freedom of information act, that looks 25 years out of date.
In March I said that if the government thinks a secret inquiry into the Iraq war will restore public confidence, it's very wrong. Last month I predicted that:
a head of steam is building up to ensure that the public get the inquiry that they want, not the one that Straw, Brown and David Miliband are planning to give them.
Perhaps Gordon should have listened.

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