i Editor's Letter: Collective amnesia


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The Independent Online


Students of the Leveson Inquiry have noted the largest bout of collective amnesia in living memory – not to mention alleged wilful blindness and ignorance.

Because many of the principals involved hold, or held, significant power, seeing them in such an uncomfortable position before Robert Jay or Lord Leveson evokes cynicism. The Establishment is in the stocks – for once. The public is not minded to believe witnesses who say they can't recall much of what they are being asked about. They surely remember because they have attained such powerful positions that they could not do their jobs if they did not.

I am not defending any of them - least of all Tony Blair. But, as he stumbled over specifics from the mid-1990s, I had some sympathy. Our collective air of scepticism does not allow for the passing of years. To be fair, I often struggle to recall yesterday's i front page, and I spent the day doing it! Even the notion that one would recall because the conversations were with international media tycoons or leaders is less valid if they are your personal commonplace.

Post his 1997 election defeat, I worked for Michael Heseltine. I was occasionally in his office or at his boardroom table for lunch, even on the same trip. I was, and remain, an admirer, but I simply can't recall more than two things he ever said to me back then, let alone anything I said to him.

It's totally unscientific, but I blame parenthood. My memory has been shot to pieces since the girls arrived. I try to remember things, especially people's names, but I just can't. I would make a terrible witness. In fact, just like all the others. What about you?