Monday, 2 March 2009

Jack Straw and the Iraq Cabinet minutes

Am I the only person in the blogosphere to think that the use of the Ministerial veto power to override the information Tribunal's decision and prevent the publication of the minutes of Cabinet discussions relating to the invasion of Iraq was entirely right?

Charlie Falconer (one of the few Labour ministers of recent years who you can imagine it would be fun to have a pint with) said on Radio 4 the other day that Cabinet members had to be able to be free and frank in discussion in 'a private space'. 'The critical point is, do you want cabinet government and collective responsibility to continue?' I completely agree with him. This would inevitably be the thin end of the wedge; publication in this case would be used to argue for publication in others. Sooner or later, publication of the minutes would be the default position, and rather than honest discusission, positions would be taken in Cabinet only with a view as to how they would play in the press.

Critics say that Blair practically destroyed Cabinet government anyway. Perhaps he did; but that's not a reason to knee it in the balls further. And as Clare Short's recent comments have illustrated, if you take that line it's likely that you will believe that there will be little of interest in the minutes in any event.

Talking of Short, I'm currently reading her book An Honourable Deception?, which might as well be subtitled, Why I was Right About Iraq And Why Tony Is A Bastard. I have to report that she is a terrible, terrible writer: leaden, plodding prose, sanctimonious and utterly devoid of humour, giving no insight at all into what it's actually like to be a Minister. Think of the polar opposite of Alan Clark and you'll be about right.


Captain Haddock said...


Jonny Mac said...

Yes what Cap'n? Yes I'm the only person in the blogosphere who...etc?

Red Siren said...

First time I have read your blog and agreed with anything you have said!

dNo said...

Siren - first time you have read the blog... or first time you have agreed with anything JM said?
It's a common problem - i have been reading this for a long time and find him to be a dribbling maniac. I only keep reading in the hope of glimpsing another photo of his cats.

Jonny Mac said...

dNo, recant immediately or I won't let you out of your box.