The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War – which you, me, yer granny and her dug all know was illegal and conducted on a false premise – won’t be published this year after all. This is because Chilcot is still working on the investigation into the War of the Roses and can’t complete the process because Richard III had a right to reply to criticisms of his kingdom for a horse policy but the horse didn’t.
Ostensibly, the reason for the delay in publication of the inquiry’s findings into the Iraq War is that those who are criticised in the report must have a right to reply to the findings before publication. The report into the Iraq War hasn’t heard any new evidence since 2009, and for the past six years, Blair and the other members of his government have played keepie uppie with letters requesting that they submit their rebuttals.
Naturally, if you’re going to be called out for a war criminal in a public report and you can delay its publication by taking your time to respond to it, then that’s exactly what you’re going to do. Funnily enough Tony and Jack have no great incentive to hurry up with their replies, and Chilcot doesn’t seem disposed to give them any deadlines. You know, like the deadline Blair gave to the Iraqi government before bombing the country into oblivion and destroying it without pausing to think what might replace it.
It was the destruction of a functioning Iraqi government without a detailed policy of reconstruction that caused the fall of Iraq into a sectarian hell-hole and set off the chain of events leading to the monsters of ISIS with their institutionalised slavery. Blair – along with US president Bush – bears the primary responsibility for the devastated lives, the rapes, the broken bones, the deaths of hundreds of thousands. And yet there he is, lecturing us in the pages of the Guardian about why it’s immoral to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, who is apparently that rare thing – a Labour politician with a conscience.
The Chilcot inquiry is of course being delayed because we all know that the only fair and reasonable outcome of the inquiry process will be to call out Tony Blair and Jack Straw for the war-mongering basterts that they are. A proper inquiry would show that the UK went to war on the basis of Tony Blair getting so far up the arse of President Bush’s administration that he poured out the mouth of a far right president in a stream of verbal diarrhoea that hasn’t ceased since. But we must not be unkind, Tony Blair has one immense achievement under his belt, along with all the payments he’s received from dodgy dictators. Blair proved it really was possible for the left leaning public to loathe a politician even more than they loathed Margaret Thatcher.
The only fair and reasonable outcome of the Chilcot Inquiry would be a call to put Blair and Straw on trial for war crimes and lying to parliament. The only fair and reasonable outcome of the inquiry in sex abuse committed by powerful men in the heart of the establishment would be for the perpetrators to be put on trial.
But none of that is going to happen. The inquiry into sex abuse will name the dead not the living, in order to assure us that the threat is dead too and to pretend that sex abuse couldn’t possibly happen any more. The report will be delayed and delayed until the victims are in their old age and the perpetrators are safely dead. It will not report back until historic child abuse really is history, a report to wallpaper over the abuse that still goes on. The inquiry into the Iraq War won’t name the dead because the dead number in their hundreds of thousands. It will seek to excuse the actions of politicians who are still living. The way the inquiry is bending over backwards to allow Blair and Straw to make their representations shows us where its priorities really lie. But in the interests of justice it is only right and proper that Blair and Straw get their say. And they should get their say in a court of law.
Tony Blair was born in Scotland, and that means that when Scotland becomes independent then he will become a Scottish citizen. Some in the independence movement may be unhappy with the Scottishness of Blair and seek to deny it. I don’t. I’m glad he’s Scottish, because that means that when we gain our independence we will be able to put him on trial for war crimes, and no amount of diplomatic protection will save him from the justice of a Scottish court – because he will be a Scottish citizen. Of course this means that Blair is unlikely ever to set foot in an independent Scotland, and that all by itself would be a good result. He’ll be left cowering in countries which won’t extradite him to Scotland to stand trial.
But more importantly, with independence we have a real chance to ensure that our governments are transparent and accountable. In an independent Scotland we can have clear rules, a written constitution and means to keep the powerful in check. We have no chance of that in the British state. How many more wars, how many more broken and damaged kids, will it take for supporters of the Union to realise that the British state is founded on lies, on abuse, and on war and destruction.
It should be clear enough by now. The purpose of a British government inquiry is not to get to the truth, it’s to kick the truth far enough away in distance and time that the establishment is not harmed by it. Official inquiries exist to put blame behind a safe wall of distance, when the public has been distracted by a few seasons of Great British Strictly Come Bake Off. The bombs that fell on Iraq were real enough, the explosion of child abuse committed by powerful and well connected men was real, but official inquiries exist only to defuse the truth. They’re not about ensuring the transparency of government, they exist to make government opaque.
Only with independence can we shine a light in the darkness.
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