Last year, the frustration of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his grovelling hackery at the Daily Mail at the length of time John Chilcot was taking to deliver the findings of the Iraq Inquiry boiled over, with the result that readers were regaled with the thundering headline “MPs, generals and victims’ families condemn Iraq war inquiry chief’s 6-year failure to publish findings … THE MAN WITH NO CONSCIENCE”.
What the f***'s wrong with playing both sides of the field, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
There were the usual sub-headings, just to make sure readers knew what to think: “Sir John Chilcot under increasing pressure to release long-overdue report … Next week, inquiry will have lasted longer than British troops fought in Iraq … Tory’s Julian Thomas said he failed to give 'straight answers' over delay … John Miller, whose son Simon was killed in 2003, said: ‘What kind of conscience does Chilcot have?’”
This was backed up with a suitably righteous Daily Mail Comment, headed “Iraq and a ruling class looking after its own”, which told “despite it being six years since the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War was set up – and four-and-a-half since the final hearings – its chairman refuses even to give a date for publication … This is despite the fact that one of the five-man panel has died, Sir John Chilcot himself is 76 and the Prime Minister has publicly demanded that he hurry up”. And there was more.
Dacre was clearly unhappy that Chilcot had declined to accede to his will, and so two weeks later, another Daily Mail Comment thundered “Chilcot's bumbling insults our war dead … Sir John Chilcot lived up to his reputation as ‘The Man with No Conscience’ yesterday, as – yet again – he contemptuously snubbed the bereaved relatives of the Iraq war dead”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
But that was then, and this is now: today, the Mail has produced a “Chilcot Special Edition” which bears the thundering front page headline “A MONSTER OF DELUSION”. This is backed up by a Daily Mail Comment that tells “An inquiry that, for once, WASN'T a whitewash and why the findings of Chilcot report are devastating for the Establishment”.
The stench of burning rubber at the 180-degree U-turn is still in the nostrils as we arrive at a sick-making blame transference piece from Max “Hitler” Hastings titled “How our ruling class betrayed us: The Cabinet. MI6. Generals. Law officers. Civil servants... ALL were complicit in a megalomaniac's march to war”. Yes, you read that correctly - Max Hastings called someone else a megalomaniac. And it gets worse.
Hastings dumps on our armed forces for good measure: “The Armed Forces’ ‘can-do’ spirit, eagerness to earn their pay, to justify their existence or - as cynics would say - ‘play with their toys’, can be admirable. In recent times, however, it has produced some hideous embarrassments and disasters”. That’s the same Max Hastings who accompanied the army into Port Stanley, praising them to the rafters.
But now, by sheer coincidence, he’s singing from the same hymn-sheet as the rest of the Dacre doggies and rubbishing all involved in the Iraq adventure. And like all those others, Hastings is sure that Chilcot is OK now, whatever was thrown at him last year.