Last Whimper of a Conspiracy Theory
The 10th anniversary of the death of David Kelly might have been an occasion to restore some balance to the debate about the Iraq war, which I have tried to do in the updated edition of my biography of Tony Blair (there is an extract here; download the e-book here or buy the paperback here).
In The Independent on Sunday, however, I have taken part in an unsatisfactory debate with Miles Goslett, who persists in propounding the conspiracy theory that Dr Kelly was murdered.
I say unsatisfactory because I felt Goslett refused to engage with the starting point of his case, which is that his demand for a new inquest presumes that murder was a serious possibility. It is frustrating trying to engage with someone who talks about the supposed absence of fingerprints and other details without explaining why he thinks they matter.
It is notable that all the names who have lent their meagre credibility to this tasteless business have fallen silent on the matter. But let us just remind ourselves of a selection of them: Norman Baker, the transport minister (pictured), Peter Oborne, Melanie Phillips, Richard Ingrams, Michael Howard and Paul Routledge.
The Mail on Sunday has published on its news pages, meanwhile, an article by Goslett, which argues that the Hutton inquiry was flawed because the judge was appointed too quickly. No, me neither.
Appended to this article is a comment by Simon Walters, the Mail on Sunday’s political editor, who accepts that Dr Kelly took his own life, but propounds the conventional view that he was driven to it by “New Labour”. This is harder to rebut because it is widely believed and not transparently potty, but I don’t think it is right.
I refer any fair-minded person to the relevant parts of the Hutton Report about the Government’s role in Dr Kelly’s name becoming public. The facts that matter are that Dr Kelly had caused the BBC to publish an untrue and damaging story; that he was bound to be held to account for it; and that, if he was “hounded”, it was by journalists.
Tom Mangold, meanwhile, had a sensible article about the conspiracy theory in yesterday’s Independent, even if he does subscribe to the lazy journalistic assumption about George Bush and Tony Blair looking for “an excuse” for invading Iraq – but that is part of the intelligent debate about Iraq to which I referred at the start.
Previously on the Kelly murder conspiracy theory from this blog.Tagged in: conspiracy, conspiracy theories, david kelly, iraq
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