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Monday 14 December 2009

Fairly Straight Kind Of Guy?

The Iraq Inquiry grinds on. Occasionally a nugget of information, or more usually gossip, emerges, but otherwise the process is so mundane as to be off most commentators’ radar. Or rather, it was until the upcoming appearance before it of one Tony Blair. The former Prime Minister, of course, was a man of supposedly unimpeachable integrity, and a “fairly straight kind of guy”. So he would appear before the enquiry for us all to see and hear, wouldn’t he?

Well, apparently, no he wouldn’t. The Chilcot enquiry team are now insisting that his evidence will be heard in public, but that some of it may have be heard behind closed doors, the usual catch-all excuse of “national security” being deployed. Also, some of the intelligence reports that may be discussed demand more of that privacy.

I don’t buy this. Blair can, and should, be the most open and transparent of all witnesses before the Iraq Inquiry, and Sir John Chilcot should insist on it. Alternatively, Blair could declare himself that everything would be in public – he is, after all, a “fairly straight kind of guy”. Isn’t he?

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