street talk / procrastination

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The Independent Online
First things first and fair's fair, the long and the short of it is that I have given this inquiry the fullest and most precise answers to the best of my ability. As we know, the truth in such matters is as broad as it's long; we have to take it as it comes and not run hither and thither after what may not amount to a hill of beans.

Tittle tattle aside, as far as I can tell, and certainly as near as makes no difference, this government did not condone the sale of thingamebobs to old wotsisname in Iraq, nor license the export of any dohickey or widget that may have been of use in a sort of military whojameflip. Nor, as near as dammit, and allowing for a little give and take on both sides, were we aware at that time that President Whosit was such a so-and-so, but believed that, as these things go, he was more or less fair to middling, and if not exactly a good sort, was neither fish nor fowl.

Be that as it may, I resent the insinuation that I did not know if I was coming or going in these negotiations and that I ran here, there and everywhere like some flibbertegibbet who doesn't know his arse from a hole in the ground, or that come what may, I would as needs must turn a blind eye to the sale of some sort of dufus or some such to the Iraqi whatnot.

I was constantly on the go ensuring that relations with both sides were, following the rule of thumb, so-so, and that they remained more or less much of a muchness. Hogwash notwithstanding, things were not bad, though not as good as it gets, but far be it from me to say that sooner or later it was more than likely that someone would claim we were letting things take their course on the basis that a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse and that, even if it was a bit piss-and-make- do, it was better than nothing.

As it happens I was the minister responsible and, when push comes to shove, must stand up and be counted, but at the end of the day the record will show that I had doodly squat to do with any of this and that is why I have given this inquiry my full and frank support, unreservedly and unstintingly, and so on.