Friday, March 25, 2005
"It was a banana republic moment. "
Sir Simon Jenkins, writing in the Times on the legal advice for war, is as scathing as I have ever known, and I have read every newspaper article he has written for over four years.
- "Robust, independent, professional advice has always been crucial to sound administration. This is no longer the British way. Professionalism is corrupted by politics and as a result ministers use the media as their sounding board.."
He also reports being told what has been suspected here for some time ( Goldsmith pages): that there can be no publication of Lord Goldsmith's advice simply because there was no formal legal opinion by the Attorney General beyond his one-page written parliamentary answer.
Of the Attorney General himself, he says, "He suddenly had to stop being a sceptical analyst and become an Alastair Campbell spin-doctor."
Simon Jenkins' article Just do what the PM wants
....surely publishing the final, March 17, opinion would have hugely helped Mr Blair. When I suggested this to a senior official some time ago, I well recall his reply. The Attorney-General’s final advice would never be published, he said, for the simple reason that “it does not exist” . It was a “sofa memorandum”, cobbled together to calm the Chief of the Defence Staff and Labour backbenchers. It was a banana republic moment..."
"...That March, Downing Street had no call for professional tap-dancers. It needed shysters and gumshoes."
"International lawyers were overwhelmingly hostile to the Iraq invasion. There was only one ostensibly independent voice cheerleading for Downing Street, Professor Christopher Greenwood, of the LSE. Last week it was revealed that he had received more than £50,000 for his services by Lord Goldsmith, a fact never revealed in his media appearances. So much for academic independence.."
Read the article in full