Friday’s Rive Gauche edition has come around quite quickly after an extraordinary week for law news. Today, Tony Blair appears before the Iraq Inquiry. He will, naturally, be thoroughly prepared. it is unlikely the questioning will trouble him over much and, after his appearance with Fern Britton, where he said that WMD was not necessary for the war and he would have found other arguments to justify the war, we are unlikely to get anything sensational.
The Guardian reported at the time: “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?” Blair was asked. He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]”.
Significantly, Blair added: “I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.” He continued: “I can’t really think we’d be better with him and his two sons in charge, but it’s incredibly difficult. That’s why I sympathise with the people who were against it [the war] for perfectly good reasons and are against it now, but for me, in the end I had to take the decision.”
In a rather bizarre twist, Sir Martin Gilbert, a panellist on the Chilcot The Government’s Got Talent show, has been praising the prime minister Gordon Brown for his hard work. The timing isn’t great, given Brown’s imminent appearance before the Iraq Inquiry – but this is Britain, so why should we be surprised?
The Times has the story. It is perfectly reasonable for Gilbert to make statements about prime ministers and anti-semitism in Britain – but I would thought it would have been more sensible to wait until after the Inquiry?
So that will be a “YES” vote from Gilbert for McDoom then?
UN in secret peace talks with Taliban
The Guardian reports….“Taliban commanders held secret exploratory talks with a United Nations special envoy this month to discuss peace terms, it emerged tonight.Regional commanders on the Taliban’s leadership council, the Quetta Shura, sought a meeting with the UN special representative in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, and it took place in Dubai on 8 January. “They requested a meeting to talk about talks. They want protection, to be able to come out in public. They don’t want to vanish into places like Bagram,” the Reuters news agency quoted a UN official as saying, referring to the Bagram detention centre at a US military base outside Kabul.”
London is hosting a conference on Afghanistan and while it seems perfectly sensible to me to try to find a diplomatic solution to a nine year old war, many on BBC’s Question Time last night were none too impressed about the government giving money to the Taliban to get them to stop fighting.
President Karzai had talks with David Cameron the other day….
Scientists have discovered a sub-species of Homo Plodiens in Scotland. The BBC reported the other morning…“ An Ayrshire businessman says he has been fined by the police for blowing his nose while driving. Michael Mancini, from Prestwick, said he was sitting in stationary traffic with the handbrake on when he used a tissue to clean his nose. He claimed he was waved over by four police officers and given a fixed penalty for not being in proper control of his car.”
If you haven’t already spotted this and you want a bit of light entertainment with your coffee… then get on to Twitter and watch the feed from @eyespymp
Basically… it tweets about sightings of MPs and what they are doing… Hat Tip to Guido Fawkes…who states “Guido hears that some MPs are up in arms about invasion of their privacy and that hacks are chortling away.”
Here are but a few examples of recent @eyespymp tweets…
“Vaizey spotted with a short homicidal looking chap at St. Stephens”
“Theresa May with horrific faux crocodile skin bright green handbag. Error.”
“Charles Clarke at Peter Watt’s book launch. The book slams Brown – Clarke here like a greyhound”
“Harman marching back and forth across central lobby for the benefit of a TV camera”
“Gerald Kaufman hobbling along cloisters. Thought he’d died ages ago?”
Have a good Friday. I shall watch a bit of Chalcot and then I’m orf to London to do ‘stuff’ to organise my imminent return to the capital.