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Lord Hutton absolves Tony Blair

By Aleksander Boyd

London 28.01.04 – Last night Tony Blair won the bitter dispute over the top up fees [by a slim margin of 5 votes], today he is set to be cleared of any wrongdoing by Lord Hutton. Interestingly, the PM started the week in a rather weak position; opponents were speculating about a possible vote of confidence and whether he would make it to the end of the week as head of the government. It seems that not only will he be victorious furthermore there will be no enemy capable of causing his political demise.

To a foreign observer like me Tony Blair is arguably the best -by far- political leader of this country. Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith, Gordon Brown and Charles Kennedy, to name only a handful, have a rather evident lack of charisma and persuasive power. The top up fees issue has been -at a national level- what the invasion of Iraq has been in the international level for Mr Blair; that is enormous punches to his credibility. Nonetheless it appears that the PM will come out clean for although British politicos expressed last night that there were lots of lessons to be learned from the close victory over the top-up-fee bill, the government got his way. The end result is what matters the rest is mere rhetoric.

In similar fashion there was a widespread sentiment against the war in Iraq; parliamentary rebellions, public outcry and lack of approval by the international community were all elevated to criminal accusations against the government by the death of Dr David Kelly. Lord Hutton’s investigation –a fantastic initiative that Venezuelans like me could only dream of- will not reveal the minute details behind the forging of the dossier. The obvious questions that arises here is one of accountability. Come what may the actions of those subordinated to the PM are his direct responsibility in pretty much the same way that the opinions of the journalists working for the BBC are the voice of the corporation. The BBC directors failed to perform ethically; they stood by Andrew Gilligan without confirming the veracity of his comments, without conducting further investigation on the matter. Equally Mr Blair sold the case for war, committed British troops to it and placed a financial burden upon this nation without taking into consideration the contrary –and more factual- opinions emitted by the intelligence agencies.

The name of the game has been “blame the others” alas the “others” cannot be blamed for it is not their final decisions what brings things to fruition. The BBC reports today “Lord Hutton said he had decided that the question of whether intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction justified going to war fell outside the scope of his inquiry.” Ergo who will accuse frontally the PM for having decided to go to war unjustifiably? He has just been absolved by the only man that could have done so…

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