Brown backs down on Iraq inquiry

Following indications last week that the Government looked set for a u-turn on whether or not to hold the Iraq War inquiry in public, PM Gordon Brown has given what may well be taken as the most reliable sign so far that they'll opt for transparency when he said that he would be willing to give evidence publically.

The UK Government's decision to go to war in Iraq received widespread criticism.
Copyright-free image from Wikipedia.

Original plans to carry out and hear the findings into the controversial war - described by LibDem leader Nick Clegg as "probably the biggest foreign policy mistake that any government has made since Suez" and widely attacked by the British public - in private attracted almost universal condemnation amongst the media and voters - opinions were not improved by the fact that the story made news at the same time as the row over how much information related to MPs' expenses and whether or not Shahid Malik's return to the Cabinet should and would be published. Still aching from his party's embarrassing performance at the elections earlier this month and desperate to improve Labour's standing amongst the electorate, Mr. Brown quickly bowed before popular feeling and allowed both to be made public, albeit it in heavily-censored form in the case of the former.

Keeping the inquiry under wraps was criticised by MPs too, with
Gordon Prentice (Pendle) saying he was "not prepared to accept a secret inquiry into Iraq." The families of servicemen killed during the conflict were also against the plan, as were senior military officers.

"If those considerations concerning national security our met, then of course the Prime Minister would have no difficulty in giving evidence in public," a No.10 spokesperson has said - even though he looked distinctly unkeen on doing so not too long ago. That Mr. Brown has finally learned to listen to the country is to be celebrated, but it really looks too little far too late: these are the final, desperate struggles of a politician, a government and a party as they reach the end of their lives (though we hope "life" will only apply metaphorically in Gordon's case, of course, he may be an awful PM but we don't wish death on him. Uncomfortable and embarrassing illness, perhaps, but not death).

Let's just hope that, when and if Labour goes down in flames, a new party rises from its ashes and it has the red plumage of the organisation in its pre-Blair days rather than the blue-tinted (and rather bedraggled, currently) feathers of New Labour - no matter what your politics, it is important to have a viable opposition to keep the ruling party in check and unless Labour can pull off a miracle very soon, the Conservatives will entirely dominate Parliament following the next General Election.

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