Simon Carr: I thought that inquiries were meant to enquire

The Sketch: Maybe it was ungentlemanly to quiz about something that had been dishonourably acquired

Share
Related Topics

He did tell us that Bush was trying to link Saddam to 9/11 within three days of the Twin Towers attack. That was interesting but we knew it.

Sir David Manning – one of the thousand-and-one knights giving his trusty evidence to Chilcot – also told us that by March 2002 Bush had set up a committee to prepare for war – just as Armando Iannucci had told us in his film In The Loop. So we sort of knew that too.

But then he said that Blair would "only act as part of a coalition through the UN". This was at the time of the Crawford meeting when Blair and Bush "signed in blood" their deal, as Sir Christopher Meyer put it.

That got our blood thumping.

The memo! Oh, boy he'd walked straight into it. Now we were going to see some inquisitorial action. Baroness Prashar would show him the instruments of torture and Manning would... She said nothing. She looked at him with her big goofy eyes and the mandarin wandered away with his story.

This was around the time Manning had written a memo to report on a dinner with Condi Rice ("Her enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed"). Regime change was hotly denied as a motive or objective by the PM and by his advisers. A bit too illegal for public taste. Manning's memo however proclaimed: "I said you would not budge in your support for regime change."

Wouldn't this get the Chilcoteers examining and cross-examining what that meant? On the one hand British policy was set firmly against regime change, on the other hand an official memo showed the prime minister actively but secretly supporting it. And here he was, the author of the memo in front of them, referring to that trip, that visit, that very dinner!

The Inquiry didn't enquire. Maybe it was ungentlemanly to quiz about something that had been dishonourably acquired.

They have "thousands of official documents". They keep saying it. That Manning memo must be among them. We've got it – they must have it too. And they ignore it.

What else have they got? They must have Lord Goldsmith's first legal advice. Are they going to ignore that, too?

Manning had a brilliant piece of administrative footwork to defend himself, by the way. Blair (unbudging in his support for regime change) wasn't supporting "regime change", he only wanted "disarmament". If Saddam disarmed it would all be so different in Iraq that it would count as regime change.

There must be some sort of award or decoration – the Manning Medal – for that. They can award it to the gallant secretariat who decide to go to war, at the same time men who have gone to war get theirs, what there is left of them.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

What I saw on the night my husband was hit by a car

Rebecca Armstrong
UK border control at Heathrow Airport  

Luckily for Barbara Roche, formerly of the Home Office, Easter reminds us that heaven loves the repenting sinner best

Matthew Norman
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit