Scott: how a constitution would help, the nuclear risk and other fall-out

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The Independent Online
From Mr John Kinahan

Sir: The basic question in the Scott inquiry is: how can we ensure that ministers and public servants have a vested interested in telling the truth to Parliament and the public?

At the time that the journalist Farzad Bazoft was executed, I was a junior public servant and was ordered to present "the correct positive line" about Saddam Hussein's Iraq to the British people. The Scott inquiry has revealed worse examples of this sort of dishonesty. Unless ministers and public servants honestly admit the self-interested blindness that existed about Saddam Hussein's regime, and Parliament institutes the checks and balances needed to guard present and future ministers and public servants against the same blindness, we will condemn British governments to repeat the same tragedies, both now and in the future.

A written constitution that acknowledges political power as being at the service of "We the People", with a powerful Freedom of Information Act incorporating protection for "whistle-blowers", would help to control our over-mighty "good government" and curtail the need for future Scott inquiries.

Yours faithfully,

John Kinahan