Blair’s insipid legacy on Iraq….
So, Tony Blair pressured Gordon Brown to keep the Iraq inquiry secret. Hardly surprising I would submit given the high level of personal investment he put into the Iraq war and that he is apparently eyeing the post of European President. I think it is no accident Blair chose a role in the Middle East Peace Process following the end of his premiership; I suspect that somewhere deep-down he probably realised Iraq was wrong or, less charitably, recognised in a calculating way the damage that it did to his image.
Given that I would imagine the last thing he now wants is for all this to be raked over in public especially as it is likely to force a recognition in public that he was a little creative with the truth in making the case for the invasion. So, no surprise there and I don’t think it is surprising that Brown has chosen this course; because although I think it is fair to say Iraq as an issue no longer has the purchase on the public conscience it did I think it is equally fair to say that the last thing he needs is for the public to be reminded how those in power can so willfully mislead people. Holding it in private is thus a calculated move of political necessity.
Of course, these interests should not be allowed to prevail but they doubtless will and no trust will exist in the conclusion of the inquiry because nobody will be able to see how it’s conclusions were reached. As well as the huge foreign policy implications there are also serious issues that arise from the whole episode about how the executive treats the legislature with such flagrant contempt. Holding the inquiry in public is a necessary catharsis on what was an extremely unseemly episode and is especially relevant for a Parliament which has shot it’s bolt with regard to public trust. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath for it actually happening….Brown has shown how stubbornhe can be in the face of reality recently and I wouldn’t expect the necessity of the public good to change that.