Number 10 Blunders Again
The comments made by Mr Kelly (one of Number 10’s spin team) about the late Dr Kelly being a “Walter Mitty”, have plumbed new lows even by this sorry tale of character assassination.
Number 10 at first tried to cover it up. However, finally realising their “goose was cooked”; John Prescott admitted this comment came from the spin bunker, and issued a written apology to the family of Dr Kelly.
This “off record” character assassination raises a number of serious issues about the competence, and “game plan”, of the Number 10 spin bunker:
To comment in the way Mr Kelly did was insensitive, and stupid. Even the most foolhardy of politicians (and goodness knows there are a few of them!) would know that the press would pick this up and shake it like a dog does a rag doll.
The Walter Mitty slur is insulting. Dr Kelly, from what his friends, colleagues and journalists who knew him say was no fantasist.
There is a possibility, only mooted quietly at this stage (but it may come out in the Hutton enquiry), that Dr Kelly was in fact working for the intelligence services. This raises an added question mark over his death, and the circumstances leading up to his public humiliation by the select committee.
It is possible he had a very serious story to tell, and the smearing of his name by this remark and the other leaks over the last week; which have implied he was a serial leaker seem to be designed to undermine his reputation.
I believe the truth will come out, the government may find the coming weeks distinctly uncomfortable.