Thursday, 26 February 2004
So the decision not to prosecute Katharine Gun was not political. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't believe it. If she'd broken the OSA then that would have been grounds for prosecution, and after all she wasn't denying leaking the email. Now I'm no lawyer, but given that the legality of the war in Iraq remains ambiguous, then surely a defence of acting to prevent an unlawful war is no real defence at all. Whereas leaking an email in breach of the OSA was a criminal act. So the reasons for not prosecuting must surely be political. Now the actual political reason is open to question. One option is that Blair wanted to draw a line under Iraq and British Intelligence, and a trial would just have kept a running sore in the public eye. Or perhaps a trial would have forced discussion of the legality of the war and revelation of any incriminating documents. But either way, to deny a political motivation is disingeneous at best. Or maybe, just maybe, the government was concerned that any random selection of 12 good persons of the jury would be almost guaranteed to be anti-war and thus rule for the defence. If that is the case, then it either shows how little respect the government has for the public to believe that a jury could not be impartial on such a matter; or shows just how comprehensively Tony Blair has lost the battle for hearts and minds over war in Iraq. And Blair's discomfort has been further increased by Clare Short's bugging claims made earlier today. She is often referred to as the "conscience" of the Labour Party, and perhaps now and again it would do Blair good to listen to his conscience. He will undoubtedly get revenge via the Labour Party disciplinary processes, although only a fool would be too bloody minded. Just as Margaret Thatcher was condemned to spend her remaining days in power tarred with the brush of the Poll Tax fiasco, so Tony Blair should resign himself to the fact that he will be perceived by many to be a war monger who acts on weak and twisted intelligence information. So much for the legacy of Things can only get better.