This Chilcot Inquiry may be taking decades to publish, but surely this means when it comes out it will look beautiful. Each line will be on a separate parchment, inscribed by Franciscan monks with crimson ink made from individually blessed elderberries, with sketches of bluebirds and gladioli around each vowel.
Each chapter will begin with a heading, such as “Weapons of Destruction be there none” written with melted rubies, and the story told in pictures like the Bayeux tapestry, starting with a blown-up school in Baghdad embroidered with camel hair weaved into the skin of a panda. That must be why it’s taken so long, so cut the bloke some slack.
There’s a suggestion that the delay means Chilcot has “lost public confidence”. The best way for him to get that back might be to announce that the reason it’s not come out is that he hasn’t started yet. Instead he’s copied Happy Mondays - who once spent their entire record advance on drugs without playing a note - and has blown all the inquiry money on skunk.
If he’s asked to explain the delay in parliament, he can make a statement that starts, “Look, stop hassling me, right. You’ll get your report, just lay off and I’m on it yeah. I mean who knows who invaded who, right? Haaaaa aahaaa.”
Someone should check his office, as it’s probably covered in pizza boxes and empty bottles of Jack Daniels, and Chilcot’s been looking everywhere for the transcript of an interview he did with Alastair Campbell, unaware he used it for a roach.
That would be more acceptable than the reasons offered so far. For example, Chilcot says it’s been held up for several months so that anyone who’s criticised in the report can reply. If that’s true it’s a shame he wasn’t in charge of criminal trials in the past, to give the same rights to anyone accused of misbehaving. Around now he’d be telling us his report on the Kray twins would be published any day soon, but it was “only proper that those facing criticism for murder and other misdemeanours have every opportunity to reply adequately and in full measure”.
Maybe he has been in charge of other inquiries in the past, but the incidents he was investigating happened so long ago that everyone’s forgotten. So when he says the report should be out later this year, he means his report on the Battle of Hastings. But it would be unfair to bring it out earlier as it could have an influence on any Saxons standing in the election.
It’s now taken him longer to publish his report on the start of the Iraq war than it took to fight the whole of the Second World War. He must read about the Allied campaign and think, “I wish my job was as simple as defeating Hitler. Fly some planes over Kent, trip to Normandy, bish-bosh and you’re done in six years, but this inquiry I’ve been given is exhausting”.
To be fair to Sir John Chilcot, this does seem to be the purpose of inquiries. The entire government could be caught on film trafficking children to North Korea in exchange for nuclear weapons they were selling to Islamic State, and instead of anyone being arrested an inquiry would be set up that would take 35 years to report.
Then it would make recommendations such as, “It may be that an advisory body with powers to reconsider proposals that may conflict with that which acts contrary to those persons engaged in illicit trading or otherwise be given refrigeration with regard to the A40 to Oxford.”
So Chilcot could keep this going for a while yet. In 2017 he’ll inform us there’s a delay owing to a dispute about which font it’s to be published in, then it will have to be rewritten as he’s gone off the letter D, then he’ll decide it might be fairer to perform his findings as a piece of interpretive dance, but the choreographer is in Brussels working on a performance of the new EU fishing regulations so we’ll have to wait a bit longer.
Tony Blair: A career of controversies
Tony Blair: A career of controversies
1/11 The Tony Blair 'selfie'.. A journalist takes a picture of Kennard Phillips 'Photo Op', depicting Prime Minister Tony Blair taking a 'selfie' in front of an explosion in Iraq, during a press viewing of the exhibition Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War
2/11 Protesters pictured outside the QEII Conference centre in London in 2011 as former British PM Tony Blair give his evidence in the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry
3/11 David Lawley-Wakelin, who disrupted Tony Blair’s testimony at the Leveson Inquiry by bursting into the court
4/11 Blair giving evidence
5/11 Tony Blair visiting troops in Iraq in 2007
6/11 Blair meeting with troops in Basra, Iraq in 2003
7/11 Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks to British soldiers at Divisional Headquaters in Basra, May 2007
8/11 British Prime Minister Tony Blair eats dinner with British troops in Basra, Iraq, 21 December, 2004
9/11 Syrian president Bashar El Assad during his official visit to the United Kingdom in 2002. Mr Blair tried to engage Mr Garcia in a conversation about Syria. The former Prime Minister made clear he was very much in favour of military intervention last summer.
10/11 Syrian president Bashar El Assad and wife Asma during their official visit to the United Kingdom in 2002. Mr Blair tried to engage Mr Garcia in a conversation about Syria
11/11 Former Prime Minister Tony Blair's signature adorns a program he signed for an Iraq veteran during a reception at the Guildhall in London following the service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral honouring UK military and civilian personnel who served in Iraq
And the marvellous part is we already know the most important parts. The government of Tony Blair took the country to war in order to rid Iraq of weapons that turned out not to exist.
We also know it’s a good job his government didn’t make as much of a fuss publishing the document that proved Iraq had these weapons, or we’d never have got round to causing all those deaths in the first place.
Because back then, the document they put together to prove Saddam had piles of evil weapons was full of nonsense such as parts of a thesis by a student found on the internet. This was deemed more trustworthy than less reliable sources, such as United Nations weapons inspectors.
So Blair couldn’t have complained if Chilcot’s report had been compiled with the same attention to detail that he and Alastair Campbell employed on the document to start the war.
Then it could have been finished in two days, with evidence such as, “It appears beyond doubt that Tony Blair is a lying psychotic arse, as that’s what it says on the Facebook page of Fatboy85, and furthermore he wants banging up and his wife’s no better, a conclusion I felt compelled to reach upon studying the testimony of @anarchy666 on twitter.”Reuse content