Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Compare & Contrast

Gordon Brown has explained why the inquiry into the Iraq war should be held in secret. As he put it:

Mr Brown said privacy would ensure that evidence given by politicians, military officers and officials would be as "full and candid as possible".

It's not that he wants to conceal anything, he claims, he just wants people to have the confidence to speak freely and openly to the inquiry. Such freedom comes from from the privacy inherent in separating the things that you say from the life that you lead.

It is, therefore, disappointing, that Nightjack has been outed. His blog was excellent; I greatly appreciated it myself, and the Orwell prize was richly deserved. He demonstrated the grain of truth in what Brown says about the Iraq enquiry; protected as he (thought he) was by anonymity, he could tell us all what life was actually like as a British police officer. He did more - far more - to challenge my cynicism about the police than any official PR campaigns. His insights allowed us to see things from the officer's point of view, and actually engendered some sympathy for their situation.

Now, he is to be investigated by his employers and has already been issued with a written warning. This is mad. His truths did not harm the reputation of the police; quite the opposite.

I see that both Blue Eyes and Letters from a Tory agree with me. Both write eloquently on why the decision was wrong, and both regret the loss of anonymity.

Brown is wrong to hold the entirety of the Iraq enquiry in secret, because it is discussing matters of public policy and the actions of public figures. That part, at least, should be in public. Likewise, though the decision of Mr Justice Eady was (so far as I can see) correct in law, it is bad policy and the law on this subject should be revised.


  1. It's also worth remembering that this inquiry won't have the power to summon witnesses, rendering it impotent on the most serious matters.

  2. Seems this Prime Minister is for turning..

    These days he issoweak that when he sets off down the garden path he barely knows where he will end up.