Sunday 7 March 2010

Brown and the Iraq Inquiry

Gordon Brown should visit the troops in Afghanistan. He claims he makes visits this time of year, and this was arranged some time ago. Humm, perhaps about the same time ago as his visit was arranged to the Iraq Inquiry.

Unfortunately I was able to watch Gordon Brown the day before at the Iraq Inquiry, although later I didn't because I could see what he was doing. He treated it like a session of Prime Minister's Question Time. He repeated himself over and over again for what he wanted to say whether he was asked it or not. He blinded with statistics in rapid fire mode as a kind of 'get out of this' strategy, causing frustration regarding his lack of an ability to give a straight answer. He insisted defence spending went up, when he didn't say that it was inadequate: he says he never refused a request for money - yes, but were the military any time reluctant to come forward because of the squeeze on defence spending (a squeeze soon to come again with the financial crisis)?

Then we have him agreeing with Tony Blair about going to war in Iraq, yet on a different basis than Tony Blair (insisting Saddam Hussein obeyed UN resolutions - humm, apply that to the rest of the world including aggressor countries...), and once again he did his Mr. Macavity act of never being in any of the key meetings, having the ear of Blair (e.g. those still withheld letters between Bush and Blair) or having knowledge of what was going on - like not knowing the changing legal opinions about going to war. And of course he dances through his attendance at the inquiry differently from Blair, such as asking the people behind if they were finding the thing interesting - and they replied about listening to the answers (in other words, don't patronise us and don't think we can't see what you are doing).

Gordon Brown doesn't give the lawyer's response of a Blair, he just both avoids and bludgeons his way through like a politician. We see what he is doing. And yet - this is a display of the politician's skill. Somehow you have to ask whether Cameron is anywhere near this display of the trade.

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