by Chris Ames
Writing on Comment is Free, Deborah Orr says that:
“Chilcot is a waste of time, money and energy. Thus far, it has merely confirmed an interpretation of events that was perfectly apparent even as those events were unfolding. Blair was obviously, from the start, a messianic hawk, thrumming with the slick self-belief that helped to make him such a powerful vote-winner.”
She expresses disdain for “the righteous indignation of those who hang on every word uttered at the Chilcot inquiry – looking in vain for the revelation powerful enough to puncture Blair’s awesome sense of personal rectitude.”
I’ve no idea who she could mean. But her argument depends on the idea that pretty well everyone agrees with her criticism of Blair but that this made no difference on the last election, where Blair was re-elected. It is by no means clear that everyone does agree with the criticism, which could be why Iraq was bad, but not fatal, for Labour during the last election.
If the effect on voters is an important test of the Inquiry’s usefulness – and I am not saying that it is – it may prove to be very useful. Despite Sir John Chilcot’s best efforts, it is giving the opposition a stick with which to beat the government and could – as many Labour MPs are said to fear – have a significant impact on the coming election. So a comparison between a pre-Inquiry election and a post-Inquiry one would not support Orr’s thesis.