by Chris Ames
The Daily Mail carries a tremendous piece by John Kampfner on the current government’s use of the Freedom of Information Act veto to block disclosure of the pre-war Cabinet minutes:
The decision not to release official papers on the Iraq war exposes yet again how the political class thinks it is above public scrutiny.
But there is no shortage of information publicly available about what happened, thanks to books, politicians’ memoirs, newspaper articles and documentaries.
Many of those involved, from Blair to his aides Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Powell and Peter Mandelson, have put their self-justifying defences into the public domain first — earning handsome publishing and newspaper serialisation fees. In doing so they have used the same spin tactics they deployed in government. Meanwhile — irony of ironies — Blair is paid millions to travel the world telling foreigners how to resolve their conflicts.
The hypocrisy of all this is extraordinary.
At the same time as cashing in on their accounts of the war, successive members of the political class have closed ranks to stop the public from finding out the truth of what went on.
Dominic Grieve is just the latest name to be added to this list which includes Labour’s Jack Straw, who also banned the release of Cabinet minutes covering the Iraq war.
Most sickeningly, there seems to be one law for politicians and another for everybody else.
As Chris Lamb, who has twice used FOI to try to get the Cabinet minutes released, has pointed out, what is being protected is not good government in a safe space, but a complete failure of Cabinet government to give sufficient discussion to a massive issue. That is what the political class is concealing.