Time to publish war report and be damned

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Dirty work at the crossroads - or what?

All sorts of feeble excuses are being peddled around to explain the unjustified, and indeed shameful, delay in publishing the critical Chilcot Report into the Iraq War.

But MPs are suspicious that the real reason for its non-publication so far - said to be four years overdue - is that its contents could destroy the reputation of Tony Blair the former Prime Minister.

That cannot be a good reason to delay, and especially not to censor a report, which deals with an event which cost hundreds of British lives as well as maiming many more British servicemen and women for life.

They, their relatives and the British taxpayer have a right to know what went on in their name and with their money. The problem, it appears, is about the disclosure of communications between Blair and President George W Bush and we are left with the distinct impression that Britain’s top civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the powerful Cabinet Secretary, is worried about this aspect of the affair.

However, it looks as though, thanks to some spirited protests from some MPs, David Cameron has seemingly overruled the fears of Sir Jeremy and announced the report will be published this year. About time, too. Needless to say, this has led to another row, with certain Labour MPs saying publication of this report so near to a general election could adversely affect Labour’s prospects. They fear the report will contain damning material about the Labour Government, led by Blair at the time.

Well, again, that is no excuse for not publishing it. Indeed, complaining about the timing of its proposed publication seems to be implying it will contain bad news for Labour. We shall see...

A leading political commentator claims Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, is alone in reviving the “lost art” of political opposition.

Not so.

Although Farage is a very effective operator, he cannot match Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, in his opposition to the Tories - even though he is supposed to be on their side.

No wonder David Cameron has vowed never again to enter a coalition, should the circumstances arise.

Clegg has shown himself to be not so much a help in the coalition as a sharp and toxic thorn in its side.

Meanwhile, however, the real opposition to the Establishment is provided by the media, notably the newspapers. They uncovered the expenses scandal and have been responsible, while Cameron has pussyfooted around, for the removal of such dodgy Cabinet Ministers as Maria Miller, the former Culture Secretary, caught misusing public money.

Her Majesty’s official and feeble opposition appears to be incapable of holding the Government to account.