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Friday 13 May 2011

Tone, Big Al, And The L Word

The Chilcot enquiry has yet to report. But some previously secret correspondence has just been published which shows a sharp divergence of opinion between some in the military and those in the Blair administration. For the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, who despises Tone and Big Al equally, that has been sufficient to give the green light to deployment of the L-word.

So while the Guardian has pointed out that the accounts of the Iraq “dossier” given by Major General Michael Laurie and Alastair Campbell show significant divergences, and concludes that Laurie’s evidence is “devastating”, the Daily Mail has come straight out and asserted that Big Al and his boss were lying (albeit that this in only in the headline, and that the body of the article clarifies this to “were accused of lying").

Now there is one very good reason why this particular L-word is part of what is called “unparliamentary language”, and that is that once uttered in accusation, rock bottom has been reached, civilised discussion cannot continue, and it is a very difficult place from which to row back. That’s why this blog does not call anyone out in that manner.

What conclusion can be drawn from this side-show? There is little of any surprise here: that some in the military did not see eye to eye with their then political masters is never news, a routine friction that affects Governments of all stripes. Campbell has said he has nothing to add, so is deploying a straight bat. Blair has not, as far as is known, yet commented.

Chilcot will report later this year, and having waited this long, we would be best served going the extra mile and seeing what is in that report. This approach, of course, does not sell papers in the meantime, so will be ignored by the Dacre hackery. Whether the Mail headline is actionable, and the former PM minded to take that action, we will also see in due course.

Two entertaining outcomes for the price of one is something I’m more than willing to wait for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Back in 2002, of course, the Daily Mail printed all those "lies". It accepted as fact all of Blair and Campbell's dodgy assertions. There was hardly any of the analysis that could be found in the Guardian, Independent or even the Mirror. The Mail turned its famous aggression full-square on Saddam Hussein. And my guess is that Blair and Campbell knew how easy it would be to get a paper like the Mail hyped up about this, and that is one of the reasons that they decided to support the Americans 100%: it would be much more difficult to sell a nuanced policy to a paper like the Mail.