Thursday, 11 February 2010

The eyes have it

Would you buy a second-hand car from this man? What a journey he has made from young firebrand to establishment stooge who has raised slipperiness and evasion to an art form. He has spun so much and so often he is now trapped in a web of his own making. 

When we needed a statesman we got Jack Straw.

“Chilcot said that from everything the inquiry had heard and read, Straw was the only person to have been kept fully informed throughout. Straw suggested that defence secretary Geoff Hoon was also closely involved, but the point had been made: not just that Straw was in the loop all the way through, but that most of the rest of the cabinet didn't know a lot of what was going on.
Jack Straw made clear in evidence to the Iraq inquiry today that he believed there was absolutely no need for the cabinet to be told of the attorney general's doubts about the legality of the invasion. (my emphasis)
The inquiry has heard that a week before the invasion, on 13 March 2003, Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, told Straw that he might need to tell the cabinet that "the legal issues were finely balanced", documents released by the inquiry today reveal. Straw, then foreign secretary, advised him not to do so, warning of "the problem of leaks from the cabinet"; the inquiry has heard it was never told of Goldsmith's doubts.” Guardian 09/02/2010

“But this lack of debate in Cabinet did not matter, for “we got lawyers from both sides…arguing in the public prints”, which meant ministers knew there was an argument going on: “We were being publicly bombarded with the arguments.”
Mr Straw’s use of the word “bombarded” is much more revealing than he intended. It conveys not just a sense of self-pity – poor man, to have these arguments raining down on him - but the implication that arguments were something against which the Government needed to defend itself.
Mr Blair established a form of government, which enabled him to avoid necessary arguments, and Mr Straw was his faithful helper in this unconstitutional endeavour.” Telegraph 09/02/2010

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