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Wednesday 7 July 2010

A Tortuous Compromise

Another Government, another enquiry: this one into the allegations that the UK’s security services knew about the “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects, and in some cases colluded in their torture.

So will this be a public enquiry? Well, not really: some of its sessions will be public, but how many, we don’t get to know. It will be led by a judge, and report by the end of the year, which means that anything not discovered in a period of less than six months doesn’t get in.

And what of those security services? Are they being made accountable by the process, or is the Government moving to appease them by limiting the enquiry’s timescale and scope? Liberty’s Shami Chakrabati has put it rather well: “this announcement leaves room for fears that government is bending towards the security establishment”.

Moreover, there will be no disclosure of evidence, and nobody will get guilty as a result. But there will be opportunities to dump the whole business on Tone. Business as usual in the world of party politics.

No change there, then.

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