Blix or Blair - which do you believe?

IT'S fascinating to the BBC. It's fascinating to the government. But to you and me the Hutton Inquiry is a snoring bore. This means we no longer care whether Britain went to war for a valid reason or on a trumped-up pretext.

IT'S fascinating to the BBC. Of course. The corporation's whole image as national auntie – maybe its future direction – could be at stake.

It's fascinating to the government. In the most extreme scenario, Tony Blair's future as prime minister could even be on the line. Just about. Maybe.

But to the rest of us the Hutton Inquiry has long since become a great snoring bore.

That is the trouble with Britain. Or perhaps, depending on your point of view, what makes Britain great.

Give us a genuine scandal and we inquire it into dullness.

Be honest: Do you care any more about poor dead Dr Kelly? Probably not.

Most Read

Worse – far, far worse – most folk are now too bored and probably too confused to care about whether the infamous briefing "dossier" was sexed up or not. Or if it was, who did it. Or why.

Which means, at heart, that we are now too bored to care whether Britain went to war in Iraq for a valid reason or a trumped-up excuse.

In America, George Bush (have you noticed that he seems to have dropped the W?) no longer talks about weapons of mass destruction. It's now enough, apparently, merely to say that Iraq needed a regime change.

I suspect the cat is now so far out of the bag that his string-pullers no longer think they can pretend that Iraq wasn't on the agenda before 9/11 – before Dubya got into the White House even.

I suspect they also know that no evidence of WMD will be found in Iraq. So they are hoping the issue will quietly go away.

Strangely, Blair continues to insist that it really was all about big bad bombs.

Now if there is any non-Iraqi who really knows whether Iraq had chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, it is surely Hans Blix.

He was the man whose job it was to find them if they existed.

And this is what he told Australian TV viewers this week: "I'm more and more to the conclusion that Iraq has, as they maintained, destroyed all, almost, of what they had in the summer of 1991."

What he believes Iraq did maintain was an elaborate double-bluff. A double-bluff that backfired.

Mr Blix thinks Saddam liked the United Nations to think he was hiding weapons that he didn't really have.

He said: "I mean, you can put up a sign on your door, 'Beware of the Dog,' without

having a dog."

Not such a good move if it means you then get prosecuted for having a dangerous mutt.

Even worse if the self-appointed dog wardens then bomb your home, put a price on your head and try to kill you.

But one weapon Saddam always did have in his armoury was bravado.

Of course, if what Mr Blix says is true, what Mr Blair says isn't. Now who do you believe?


I'M a right one to talk, I know. I seem to spend half my life ferrying children about from one home or educational establishment to another.

I drive to and from work – though I'd really rather walk – in order to get the kids where they're going and still be on time.

I fume, and add fumes, in traffic jams. I park in narrow streets and reverse near school entrances.

I am, in short, part of the problem.

But I remember that I used to walk to my village school, could cross the village street in safety and took a football to the rec without needing a lift.

I am right behind the government's new drive to cut down on the school run. In theory.

But it will take a lot more than staggering school start and finish times to cut congestion.

In fact, if a family has children at two different schools, it could mean MORE journeys and MORE time at the wheel.

It could also make life even more bafflingly complex. It's already more than complicated enough for me.


DID you see all those celebrating Town fans on the front page of Wednesday's Star? Did you notice what villains they all were?

Standing up, they were, every one of them. Should be ashamed of themselves.

And lots of them wearing football shirts too. In a football ground! Outrageous.

Just as well they weren't trying to get into the bits of the stadium where the toffs go. Wouldn't want to be mistaken for a football fan in the executive lounge, would you?

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter