Friday, March 25, 2005

Illegal War Update

In a post on Wednesday, I predicted how Mr Blair might respond to the release of the memo which the government didn't want us to read. I'm going to have to admit that I was wrong. Mr Blair doesn't seem to have responded at all. In a convenient coincidence, Prime Minister's questions did not take place yesterday. It was a Thursday and Mr Blair was in the House of Commons, (I'm sure, I saw him on BBC Parliament) but apparently, he was too busy. It would probably have been the last PMQ's before the general election but it was not to be. Shame, I'm sure he wanted to set the record straight.

You'd think journalists would be bound to ask him for a statement on the issue. If you saw Newsnight yesterday, you'll know what happened to Michael Crick when he tried it. Don't worry if you missed it. If it is still today, Friday, you can watch it online via the link. If it isn't still today, here is a handy summary. Blair was doing a PR visit. Mr Crick asked him if he would make a statement. Mr Blair ignored him. Crick tried to follow Mr Blair. The PM's officials ejected Crick from the building. A truly edifying sight, I'm sure you'll agree. Open government at it's very best.

At the end of his report, Michael Crick suggested a solution. Perhaps, the full legal advice of the Attorney General will be leaked out. Given his record, I'm hoping he already has an inkling that this will happen. We shall see. Another possible solution, reported by the BBC, is that the Information Commissioner will conclude that it is in the public interest for the document to be released. Fingers crossed.

Robin Cook has written an article in the Guardian today on the same issue. Don't let the fact that people have suggested that he looks like a crazed ginger dwarf deter you. On the invasion in Iraq, his warnings have been borne out by the facts rather better than the PM's. In fact, I'd say that he is probably the most Honorable Member to sit on the government side of the House. Despite the convention, I'd suggest that there are no longer any Honourable Members sitting down at the front.

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