Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blair Pleaded for Private Iraq Inquiry

Tomorrow's Observer has the story that Tony Blair exerted pressure on Gordon Brown to hold the Iraq War Inquiry in private. Wonder why that would be, then.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I so look forward to seeing Blair standing in the dock at The Hague.

If there's a God, he will.

Anonymous said...

We couldn't possibly have an aspiring EU President identified as a possible liar and war criminal - could we? Truth and reconciliation .... not when it comes to our Tone and his ambitions.

It would be nice to know what Brown was promised in return for going along with it.

someday said...

Gordon Brown to reconnect with voters by appearing on Songs of Praise

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/gordon-brown/5587033/Gordon-Brown-to-reconnect-with-voters-by-appearing-on-Songs-of-Praise.html

I'm going to vomit.

Michael Heaver said...

Brown's new style of politics = New Labour Blairite Mark 2.

How predictable. Though I wonder what Brown will want in return from good old Tony?

The Grim Reaper said...

Anonymous said "It would be nice to know what Brown was promised in return for going along with it."

Blair's allies still have the potential to bring down Gordon Brown's government. If Brown moves against Blair, he could easily see end up out of Downing Street. It's all about power.

Uncle Bob said...

Is he certifiable? Must be if he thinks the public will take him back because he was on Songs of Praise. Saying that, he'll probably get a tougher interview than he would from Andrew Marr.

Shaun said...

Maybe he couldn't fit all his papers in the shredder

Stronghold Barricades said...

Are you sure this isn't Drowning Street spin Iain?

Anonymous said...

Forget about Scralett and Campbell's JIC assessments.

The inquiry only needs to ask Dearlove and Spedding what MI5 and MI6 thought abut the Iraqi threat, and it could all be over in a week.

Tachybaptus said...

Someday said, 'Gordon Brown to reconnect with voters by appearing on Songs of Praise.'

Oh no, now Jonah is going to jinx God. Or wait a moment, has that happened already?

Mark M said...

Ahh, I can't wait to see Obama Beach on Songs of Praise. That awkward, rictus grin like the cold glint of moonlight on a silver coffin plate. A quick hand shake with one or two previously vetted members of the crowd.

And then, singing :) HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Good one Gordo, that'll swing the voters your way. He's a satirists dream.

Weygand said...

And this couldn't be anything to do with Gordon trying to explain his U turn on the issue?

"Tony made me do it - I really didn't want to but he made me."

Why would the present, cowardly, lying, self-obsessed Prime Minister give a monkey's toss what his predecessor wanted?

And as we know that Brown would love an opportunity to stick it to his predecessor and to show that he always was the better man, why would he heed such a request?

The only thing more pathetic than the Brown camp thinking this shows him in a good light is the fact that some people might credit the idea that this really does explain what happened.

And that a Conservative blog would fall for it.

Has the world gone mad?

Man in a Shed said...

@Someday: This is all part of the re-branding spin exercise to get Women to feel sorry for him.

Similar his line about walking away from the job and becoming a teacher.

He's just the PR man puppet these days.

Peter said...

Is not the most worrying aspect of this announcement and the subsequent U turn the fact that that Brown had months, if not years, to think about this inquiry and he still made a balls up of it!!!

VotR said...

David Kelly. Poor sod.

I don't feel sorry for Blair at all. I hope he is sweating, especially if that name is mentioned in the Inquiry.

Hawkeye said...

Songs of Praise????

Is that still going? Does anyone watch it?

Anonymous said...

Dear Iain

Be aware that you can now lock in a guaranteed profit on your Haslehurst bet. You can lay him at 25/1 at Betfair.

Iain Dale said...

If I had any idea what you meant by that I might do it!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Downing street spin machine at work again - who's Blair? Brown is meant to be PM, surely he can take decisions on his own and listen to Mandelson in peace and quiet.

I very much doubt Blair cares how the inquiry is held. He covered his ass a long time ago. Smart man.

Thatsnews said...

The little pleader!

Anonymous said...

No doubt the BBC will play all of this down - they'll do anything to protect Blair from prosecution.

Anonymous said...

Why do you go along with this "spin" stuff why not call it lies which it is?

let it go gord said...

Gordon never tires of the blame Blair not me tactic does he?

Anonymous said...

Iain, Anon at 12:56am is quite right and you should look into this, although it comes with a price, of course.

By laying £100 against the bet at Betfair, then if Haselhurst doesn't become speaker then you 'win' £100 at Betfair, which pays for your lost bet at Ladbrokes (whereas if he does become speaker, you win £4,000 at Ladbrokes but of course you'll have to stump up £2,500 (ie your Betfair stake, times the odds of 25:1 **) to cover your lay, because you have bet £100 at 25:1 that he WON'T win), thus reducing your overall win to £1,500). Either way, at worst you're no longer out of pocket.
** I rather imagine that you'll have to deposit the £2,500 upfront at Betfair.

You have to weigh it up in your mind: you backed Haselhurst at 40:1 and you could stand to lose £100 if he loses. Is it worth getting your £100 back no matter what, at the cost of reducing your potential winnings as if you had backed him at just 15:1?

At the other end of the scale, if for example you have now decided that Haselhurst stands no chance of winning, and you'd like to make money on that, then with odds of 25:1 at Betfair, lay a maximum of £160 against the bet. If he wins, then you have to pay £160x25=£4,000 to Betfair, which is covered by your £4,000 winnings at Ladbrokes, resulting in break-even. If he loses, then you win £160 at Betfair, and you lose £100 at Ladbrokes, overall profit = £60. (All this doesn't take into account their transaction charges etc).

It's called "hedging your bets", hence the term "hedge funds". Do you see now, how the bookies make their money?

Anonymous said...

The question you have to ask yourself is - Who gains from this allegation ? The answer leads back to our present PM. I seem to re-collect that at the time of the Iraq Debate and the run up to the war that "Macavity" Brown was nowhere to be seen and that it would suit him to put the blame on Blair for wanting the enquiry to be held "in camera".

This has all the marks of "Downing Street" dis-information all over it. Treat with caution is my advice !

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

Totally OT but did you see that article about diabetes on the Beeb? Just make sure you're not eating your cornflakes whilst you're reading it......

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8106710.stm

Barnacle Bill said...

I don't think it is a case of what Broon wants from Tony in return. More likely what Tony knows about Broon that he can use to force his hand.
After all with the history between the two you would be expecting Broon to find a way to shaft Tony not protect him.
The whole thing stinks!

Anonymous said...

Re Brown & Songs of Praise - not on my TV he ain't. I think we should organise a national turnoff - all our TVs on BBC1 that day, until SoP, then as soon as they announce they'll be talking to McBroon - click - as they can (somehow) calculate audience figures, they should be able to compare the figures between whatever program precedes SoP & SoP itself. Another smack in the eye for Gordon.

Not a sheep said...

Why would you expect the truth from Tony Blair or Gordon Brown if they were under oath?

SHB said...

Straw on Marr this morning made the point that the 'Franks' style inquiry is exactly what the Conservatives had asked for.

So, if part of the Government's justification for this decision is that we did what the Conservatives wanted, why can't we can have a General Election which is also what the Conservatives have asked for. And a referendum on Lisbon, etc, etc.

Another prime exapmle of the Government floundering around, out of touch and incapable of making a competent decision.

As for Brown appearing on Songs Of Praise to 'reconnect with the people'. FFS is all I can say. Gordon, if you want to reconnect, dissolve Parliament.

Chris Paul said...

Whatever Blair may have opined, and indeed others may have opined when sounding were taken there are strengths and weaknesses to either a Public or Private choice on this.

We ALL now KNOW what went on. Some of us, in my view ALMOST EVERYBODY, knew at the time what a pile of crap those dossiers were. There were proper dossiers produced by Labour people, and also in similar terms actually by the maligned Hizb_ut-Tahrir whose dossier was pretty sensible on this one.

Blair, with complicity from his people and Tories too, was clearly twisting and bigging up a small risk of serious WMDs on the actuarial grounds that if they had them and if terrorists got them the result would be horrible. Even if the risk was in fractions of a percent, or as he probably thought, to give him the benefit of the doubt, a moderate single or small double figure, he felt he had to act.

He also wanted regime change having realised that continuing to prop up Saddam was a poor option.

We KNOW all this. It's OBVIOUS.

What is surely critical is that the lessons are learned? Private sessions may allow more lessons to be learned than cagey public ones.

Tories asked for Franks style and got it. Presumably if the Observer story is right Blair also accepted that version. It is PATHETIC to see Tories moving goalposts on this.

We already KNOW Iain what we are likely to get to know under any wholly PUBLIC INQUIRY. Waste of space. Private one also bit of a waste of space in some ways. But better for historians and the long view I'd say.

tory boys never grow up said...

Given the role that the internet is now playing in Iran I find it somewhat surprising that a leading political blog susch as this has nothing to say on the matter. Is there anyway we can express our support for those who are fighting for democracy?

Anonymous said...

And what would happen if he didn't hold a private enquiry would rasputin (mandelson) be taken of his lead.

Gallimaufry said...

I would prefer a private inquiry because I don't want to see Blair, Campbell and Scarlett waterboarded in order to be more candid. Ideally, their confessions would be signed with bloody thumbprints. That would begin to draw a line under the whole tracherous enterprise.

Ordinary Joe said...

Amazing how the people who voted for the war are now pretending that the wool was pulled over their eyes.

tally said...

who is this disgusting MP that is making obscene gestures at David Cameron in Parliament? it just shows how far the quality of MP's has fallen.
He is standing at the back next to a lady in a bluish cardigan. at 45 seconds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISD-3HnDvWg&feature=channel

he should be sacked.

Glyn H said...

Hannan has the handle on this – Mandy is keeping Gordon in power til after the Irish second attempt to get the Lisbon jobby thru’; i.e. keep Cameron out until too late to undo the treaty. If it means therefore doing whatever is req’d (Private/public inquiry) no matter what the damage to GB or Gt Britain or even TB let alone Labour – the EU project must continue. See page 25 of the S/Tel today.

Anonymous said...

i think tony blair is a pretty cool guy. eh commits war crimes and doesnt afraid of anything.

Chris Paul said...

OMG Tally - it's Bercow!

Anonymous said...

God I hope he gets done for war crimes. Does the Hague still practice capital punishment?

Mirtha Tidville said...

I just want as much of this enquiry to be open and in the publiuc. I hope and pray that in this process, Bliar and his cronies have their reputations shredded and destroyed for all time. It appears that phoney tony is worried too..

Let us not forget that he was prepared to sacrifice good men and women on the bonfire of his vanities.

Let justice commence I say...

The Lakelander said...

If he did get found guilty by a War Crimes Tribunal, then perhaps we'll get to see this portrait of Tony Blair hanging in Downing Street.

Cynic said...

'Gordon Brown to reconnect with voters by appearing on Songs of Praise.'


...as Plague or Pestilence

niconoclast said...

Public enquiries are a criminal waste of public tax payer's money and there is not one in recent history which has had any practical value or purpose whatsoever.Bloody Sunday,Diana enquiry,Stephen Lawrence,Scarman ad nauseam and this is just more of the same.Blair was right re Iraq and it is just an opportunity for the anti war brigade to posture, strike moral poses and indulge in 20 20 hindsight. Take the money that will be wasted on this farce and give it to our troops who are putting their lives on the line for our freedom.

Michael Davies said...

The real story is:

1. Brown's No 10 cannot stop negative anonymous briefings despite repeated promises to change. Just think about why and how this story came into the public domain.... cui bono?

2. Brown is a vacillating coward, and wants to blame Blair for his own incompetence even though the responsibility for the decision is squarely Brown's.

3. Blair so distrusted No 10 that he went via an intermediary and the Cabinet Secretary - even that route was compromised. What does that say about the machinery at the centre of government?

4. The lobby journalists involved have been co-opted into an anonymous smear operation designed to deflect attention from Brown's weakness. Why did they do that uncritically? Why buy that newspaper?

5. It may not be true. The journalists concerned have not shown they can verify the story or that it isn't pure invention. No corroborating quote from Blair or from Gus O'Donnell or anyone else.

I don't want a secret inquiry, but if it is about learning lessons, I can see why Blair would find it easier to be more candid in private. He is entitled to make his case - but Brown is obliged to look at the case for openness in the round.

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

"What is surely critical is that the lessons are learned? Private sessions may allow more lessons to be learned than cagey public ones."

What the hell does that really mean? What 'lessons'? Who is to 'learn'?

This is the usual lefty bollox. There were more than enough people who disputed the 'causes' of war - long before the outset. Many perfidious politicians chose to ignore their protests and arguments and blindly follow a proven liar. Does anyone seriously think that these self-same politicos have somehow changed and are prepared to 'learn' 'lessons'?

The only 'lesson' these people have learned is how to cover their arses slightly more effectively. But if they had the slightest integrity we would not now be arguing over this so-called 'inquiry'. What is clear is that such 'inquiries' are no more than charades, choreographed cover-ups, smoke and mirrors.

Whenever Brown announces an Inquiry it merely means that he has found yet another willing patsy who's prepared to smooth things over. Who is it this time? And what's the deal, the payoff?

Integrity, honesty, openness, frankness, truth?

I don't think so.

The Grim Reaper said...

let it go gord said "Gordon never tires of the blame Blair not me tactic does he?"

Tony Blair, America, the bankers, outside influences, little green men inside his head... there's nothing that Gordon won't do in order to deflect blame from himself.

It's also quite staggering the number of lies Gordon has been telling about this. (and other subjects lately) If you asked him his name, he'd say it was anything but Gordon.

Cinna said...

Well, he would want it all hidden, wouldn't he?

BlairSupporter said...

Some - a few - sensible comments here. In particular niconoclast's.

But I am disappointed in Iain's innuendo-laden remark.

OK, I think that Blair was right on Iraq, and I believe he will not be proved any sort of "war criminal" during his trial ... erm ... the Inquiry.

But the press, and taking their lead (or should I say EVERYTHING from the press) the bloggers need to be very careful.

This is why:

http://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/day-1-the-trials-trials-trial-of-tony-blair/

littleoleamerican said...

I do not believe Tony Blair would PLEAD for a private inquiry. That would be totally out of character. It is media spin, no doubt. If an inquiry is held (although I believe it is a waste of great gobs of British money and it will cost MORE if it is made public)it SHOULD be private. Can you say, "National Security"? Can you say "expediency"?
From across the pond, I am grateful to TB for all the good he has done and is going to do (if the dogs would stop their senseless, selfish hunt) and let him get to it.