The Sketch: The defence secretary, the media chief and the rapid end to anonymity

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The Independent Online

Why on earth did Alastair Campbell allow these extracts from his diary to be presented to the inquiry?

He can't have done it willingly. Would you allow a complete account of your unpleasant puberty to be published? You know that night when we got so - no, no, I'm not going to even start thinking about that.

Once Mr Campbell had brought his diaries into the inquiry, perhaps some legal protocol makes them available for the prosecution. No, you wouldn't allow that stuff to be produced voluntarily, not even to whet a publisher's appetite.

Yesterday afternoon, it became clear for the first time that the Government wanted David Kelly's name out. In the morning, Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, said with great certainty that the MoD had done everything it could to protect Dr Kelly's anonymity. It took Mr Campbell to make clear what fools we were for trying to believe it.

"The biggest thing needed was the source out" his diary proclaimed. Elsewhere: "[We] wanted to get it out that the source had broken cover to claim that A[ndrew] G[illigan] had misrepresented him." And what good would that do? Why did they want the source "out"? Why, to "fuck Gilligan". There it was at last, the unembellished truth at the heart of the whole affair. "But G[eoff] H[oon] and I agreed it would fuck Gilligan if that was his source." It was an "if" at the time, a big "if" too, that Dr Kelly was the source, but the evisceration of Mr Gilligan (if that's what Mr Campbell's technical term actually meant) was well worth the risk.

But that wasn't the most alarming document released yesterday. Another item came up on the screen which showed that Tony Blair's communications director was advising him to mislead parliament. In a briefing note for the next day's question time, Mr Campbell wrote: "I would recommend that you say that in the light of the controversy you asked the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) to set out for you a detailed analysis of the process of the dossier from inception to publication, and you and the JIC are 100 per cent clear nothing improper took place." Well and good, except that, at the time, Mr Blair had made no such request for information from the JIC. But we can imagine Mr Blair saying this in the House, it does sound so very like him.

William Hague was undone when he allowed his scriptwriter to be screened mouthing his master's jokes at PMQs. Now we've seen so much of the scriptwriting at No 10 that it will be hard to take the Prime Minister at face value. Even when we know which face to focus on.

John Scarlett, the chairman of the JIC, is on today. His cross-examination is at the heart of the inquiry into the sexiest dossier that the JIC has ever produced. When considering whether anything improper took place in producing this provocation to war, here is the question to consider. Which is scarier? A) Mr Campbell told Mr Scarlett what to do? B) Mr Campbell didn't tell Mr Scarlett what to do?

Simoncarr75@hotmail.com

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