Hutton Inquiry – the verdict

By January 28, 20045 Comments

Lord Hutton has given his verdict: I shall give mine.
Wibbler, 2003
The politics of the last 24 hours has left me distinctly queasy. The Government vote on tuition fees, where they won solely on the appearance of Scottish MPs who aren’t even affected by the bill, was just a taster of things to come. Today’s revelation in the Hutton Report was the icing on Tony Blair’s cake. This time yesterday, we were wondering who would be the next Prime Minister; today, Tony Blair has escaped the flails of justice intact, seemingly stronger than ever.
Certainly, it was a grave accusation that BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan thrust at the Government’s door early that morning – namely that they had lied to go to war. Yes, the BBC reporting is at times woefully unbalanced. Yes, the BBC made errors after the Gilligan report was out. But Lord Hutton seems to have focused his entire critique on that one report; 3 minutes of unscripted dialogue and just one fourteen second long sentence that he suggests serves to represent the ethics of the reporter and, as Tony Blair himself may have put it, as the totality of the evidence against the corporation.
The idea that Blair did not have a hand in the naming of Kelly is also highly suspect. This is a government whose modus operandi has been shown, indisputibly, to be ‘top-down’, centralised and autocratic. Blair’s hand is shown to be central to all decisions – except when something goes wrong, when he is conveniently uninvolved.
And now Alastair Campbell is out, all guns blazing. Now, I’ve a great deal of respect for Campbell’s intellect. But this is a man, a former writer of fake erotic letters for Penthouse, the ex-chief spin-doctor for the government who chaired intelligence meetings. Hypocrisy? Oh no.
I suppose it is possible that the government did not put a foot wrong in this whole affair. And I can’t pretend to be at the hub of the political spectrum – my leafy village certainly isn’t on a par with Westminster. However, watching the news tonight is genuinely cathartic, and a subtext in their comments is telling. Stream upon stream of reporters are dissecting the report, going through the motions of objective analysis but seemingly unable to believe the findings or the sheer one-sidedness of the conclusion. None of them, not even seasoned insiders, predicted the outcome – seasoned insiders that have lived and breathed political debate and cynicism for years inside Westminster; seasoned insiders like Nick Robinson, ITV News’ Chief Political Reporter, who today looked deeply unhappy and talked openly on live television of a “whitewash”. Reporters like Channel 4’s Jon Snow, who seemed horrified at the implications for open investigative reporting in the future and had verbal fisticuffs with the beautiful Margaret Beckett, who almost admitted that government scientists are now unable to voice their concerns about anything much without being sacked.
But I suppose Rod Little, who gave his always entertaining opinion on the Radio 4 Today programme this afternoon, is right – never in history has a Law Lord conducted an inquiry with an anti-government outcome. Too late are the recent revelations of doubts in the evidence Lord Hutton took as fact. Three senior medical experts have cast doubt on the “suicide” of Dr Kelly, according to ThisIsLondon – a subject I harped on about a couple of months ago.
But it’s all too late now, isn’t it?
I leave you with Steve Bell’s excellent cartoon in The Guardian. A thousand words…


  • Now I know that from the politics we shared the political views that people hold are and were from the off very anit-government.

    Me I never like Blair either but from a completly different angle, The Orange here is a Liberal, pant wetting, shandy drinking, whatever you want to call us, but coming from a socialist back ground, my grandad would be turning in his grave over the current Labour Government. Atleast you felt Kinnock had some thread of moral fibre even though he was never going to win.

    As I have grown I think most politicians have barely a thread of morality between them whatever party but i still think that Liberal Democrates are the strongest party in the UK only because they are safe in the fact they are unlikely to win the election but can make policy that is strong enough to take seats from the hands of the other 2.

    IN this case I agree with the view on wibbler and Blair has escaped from any wrong doing and because Geoff Hoon held out to be the scape goat he wont have to resign over the body armour scandle of only a few weeks ago.

    The system is corrupt and wrong with public opinion counting for didly dog poo any more with tution fees being the biggest proof and final nail in the coffin for any shread of diggnity we as a british public used to have.

    The empire was long gone which people don’t seem to realise. GB is not a super power, America is the only super power and we just hang off there coat tails.

    With this in mind we need to become a more influetial part of europe but this does not mean to me the euro, just more involvement in european policy making that may effect us later down the line.

    Blair and his cronies is bad but then i think the new tories would be just as bad but then I guess I dont have a choice.

  • Wibbler says:

    Hi Tom,
    I suppose I go along with your last point – if another party gets into government, we’ll like them for a year and then start ranting about them too. It’s the cyclical process of the voter! But this really takes the biscuit.
    I’d take exception to the Lib Dems being a force for government. Their recent sacking of Jenny Tonge over her comments on being a suicide bomber – comments that she believed, and that were perfectly valid, even if people disagreed with them. She was sacked on a kneejerk reaction, just in case she offended anyone, and in one swoop the party stifled any debate on the issue. There must be some reason that the suicide bombers do it – perhaps we ought to sort that out first.

  • Oh I agree,

    The comments were made at a meeting of refugees.

    She was saying that she could sympathise with the suicide bomber because of desperation and if thats all they had known they wanted to make a difference.

    She did not condone it, I agree as ever it was a kneejerk reaction and as with every party you dont agree with everything they do.

    But it was disgraceful that Geoff Hoon did som much worse and was kept on the bench.

  • Jac says:

    If the Hutton enquiry is supposed to be independent, yet no Law Lord in the history of politics has ever concluded against the government, then a fundamental bias already exists in favour of the Prime Minister and his bunch of back-handed, take-take party members.

    When will the British voting public wake up and realise that this New Labour government is underhand, devious, greedy, deceitful and crooked? Never, that’s when. I’ll tell you why – because the voting base is so engrossed in tabloid media focusing on Jordan’s latest boob job and celebrity sex lives, that they are not exposed to the dodgy politics of this government and therefore when it comes to the elections, they have no clue and just vote for a familiar face.

    Who can replace Labour? The Tories are about as organised as Leeds Utd’s balance sheet, and the Lib Dems won’t ever get elected because the country has been brainwashed to think that voting for them is a wasted vote and that the public should vote for one of the ‘big two’.

    Overall, it’s utter pants.

  • Wibbler says:

    So, by a process of deduction, they only opposition party in a position to change themselves and improve are the Conservative Party. Michael Howard has been a boost to the Tories, but Hutton has holed their main offensive stance – now when Howard says the Government can’t be trusted, all Blair has to do is utter the words of Hutton.

    I do, however, has enormous respect for the abilities of one man: Alastair Campbell. He is quite possibly the most able and intelligent man I have ever seen – it’s just a shame he’s putting his talents to nefarious purposes for a Labour government…

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