The Wages of Spin
As I write this, the body found in the woods has not yet been formally identified. However, it is taken as a certainty that it is Dr Kelly.
Dr Kelly was a respected professional scientist in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), who found himself thrust into the public eye as a result of the ongoing fight between the BBC and No 10; over the “dodgy dossier” on WMD, allegedly “sexed up” by No 10.
Dr Kelly had to endure a number of humiliations:
Being named by No 10 as the source of the BBC’s story on the “dodgy dossier”; he denied this.
Being publicly cross examined in a brusque, and patronising way by the Commons Select Committee; made up of second rate politicians, who clearly relished their opportunity to kick around someone who was not at ease with politicians or the media.
Being put under siege by the media, who encamped outside his house.
This tragedy could have been prevented if any one of the following events had happened:
Alastair Campbell (spin master to Tony Blair) had called off his personal vendetta against the BBC. He is now reported to believe that something has gone very wrong with the way politics and the media conduct themselves; well spotted Alastair.
The BBC had made a statement confirming, or denying, that Dr Kelly was their source. Since the tragedy they have now offered their condolences, possibly tinged with guilt?
The Chairman of the select Committee, Donald Anderson, had exercised some control over its members; and made them treat Dr Kelly with the respect that he deserved. Since the tragedy members of the committee have appeared on TV denying, in the weasel manner of the guilty, that they were too harsh with Dr Kelly.
The MoD had publicly backed Dr Kelly.
No 10 had not named Dr Kelly as the mole. Tony Blair of course now expresses public sympathy, and requests that restraint be shown. Where was that last week Tony?
None of the above happened. Demonstrating that those organisations have no feelings or respect for the rights, feelings or dignity of the individual citizen. Their only concern is their self perpetuation at whatever cost.
Tony Blair made much in his speech to Congress, about the Iraq war, over the fact that history will judge.
Very true Tony, but it won’t judge in your favour. I believe that this tragedy will be a watershed; the current Administration is finished, and will be history by Q4 2003.
In the meantime should anyone of the following people have a shred of decency, they should take my advice and resign:
Tony Blair, for presiding over and encouraging the spin culture that corrodes government in the UK; this corrosion has now claimed a life.
Donald Anderson, for presiding over the “witch finder” star chamber that humiliated Dr Kelly.
Alastair Campbell, for pursuing a private vendetta against the BBC and for naming Dr Kelly.
Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence, for abandoning a respected member of staff.
Greg Dyke, head of the BBC, who chose not to confirm or deny that Dr Kelly was the mole.
I doubt very much that any of the above will resign voluntarily; accepting responsibility for events is not the “done thing” anymore in the UK.