- Created: Tuesday, 16 February 2010 17:53
- Written by Trevor Rayne
Imperialists clean their stables
‘The general leaning towards barbarity acquires a certain method, immorality becomes a system, lawlessness gets its law givers and club law its law books.’ Karl Marx.
It was noted that the four politicians who took Britain to war against Iraq – Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Lord Falconer and Lord Goldsmith – were all lawyers (Henry Porter, The Guardian 28 January 2010). For them the law is their personal property or it is an obstruction to be shoved aside.
The terms of reference of the Chilcot Inquiry were decided by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and agreed by the House of Commons. Since the 2005 Inquiries Act government ministers and not judges control public inquiry proceedings, set the terms of reference, determine public access and access to evidence submitted to the inquiry. If ministers do not like the direction an inquiry is taking they can withdraw funding. If ministers do not like the content of the resulting report they can withhold part or all of the publication. The Inquiries Act was passed in response to a demand that there be a public inquiry into Royal Ulster Constabulary and British intelligence collusion in the loyalist murder of Irish solicitor Pat Finucane. During the parliamentary debate on the legislation it was hardly mentioned that the Finucane case was the motive for the bill.