I am sure I am not alone in feeling a terrible sense of deja vu over all this.The foot and mouth crisis of 2001 may seem long ago and of a very different order of significance - but here too there were many reasoned and knowledgeable voices calling for an inquiry who were simply ignored. They wanted - not a witch hunt, but someone to admit to :- the crass stupidity of the very people who should have shown sound judgement eliciting such bad advice - the misery of those innocently caught up in the consequences, - the very dubious legality of the slaughter- the desperate and craven back-covering of those responsible, - the decision to defend by going onto the attack, putting of blame and charges of "skulduggery" everywhere except where really due - in short, we are not going to be surprised that there will be no independent inquiry over the misleading of the country and parliament in the case of Iraq..
A very rattled Ben Bradshaw on Channel Four News tonight tried to put blame for the current political turmoil on "those who opposed the war in the first place"
" I am confident and the government is confident that weapons of mass destruction will be found," he said - but students of both body language and verbal giveaways would have been interested in watching the key players in the televised Prime Minister's Question Time and following debate.
John Reid's bully boy stance and insolent grin rivalled anything we have seen form Mr Prescott, Mr Blair's cutting and slicing left hand and blazing eyes were much in evidence, Gordon Brown's air of wanting very much to be somewhere else, the slight breaking in the voice, the dryness of mouth that could not quite be disguised, particularly by Mr Straw....
Watching these men in England and in America I am terribly reminded of the way C.S Lewis portrays the end of the mortal world in the suddenly very serious last book of the Narnia cycle for children. Instead of being led by a lion, the poor deluded inhabitants of the world are hoodwinked into the last battle by an ape and by a donkey, his over-credulous ally.