The fourth inquiry into the Iraq war started two weeks ago. The inquiry has a panel of witnesses that include Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and a host of advisors and insiders. Its televised hearings will continue into the new year. It is hoped that the resulting image will be the first clear picture of how decisions were made in the build up to the war in 2003. Given these resources, it is more than likely to succeed. Unless, of course, one man gets his way.
Gordon Brown has done everything in his power to cloud over the welcome transparency of the inquiry.
Last Thursday, it was revealed by The Independent that Brown has refused to change a previous agreement that allows Whitehall to veto which information it can give up to the inquiry for publication. Writing to Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat Leader, who raised concerns about the arrangement, Brown proclaimed that he wanted to grant the inquiry “full and unrestricted access to all Government information,” but would not back down on the issue.
Brown had previously wanted the hearings to take place behind closed doors, not in the sphere of the public and media gaze.
Clegg accused the Prime Minister of breaking his “promises of full independence and openness” before the inquiry had even gotten off the ground. Add to this, the fact that Brown had previously wanted the hearings to take place behind closed doors, not in the sphere of the public and media gaze, and you start to get a worrying picture.
In this instance, I completely agree with Clegg. No-one should be fooled by the PM’s talk of openness for the hearings when all of his actions so vividly display his objection to such transparency.
In the light of negative public opinion, with regards to the closed-door political system, he should not be pushing quite so hard for a policy of concealment.
Not wanting to sound like the infamous Guido Fawkes blogger, but what exactly is Gordon Brown hiding? He was one of those who was very close to the action during the build up to the war. Does he know something that he wants to keep hidden?
It is difficult to see how a mere politically embarrassing document could evoke such protectiveness. Perhaps he is hiding something he knows to be illegal. Rest assured, sooner or later the truth will emerge.