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A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... At first sight, the Hutton Report seemed to provide further evidence of Tony Blair’s intuitive political genius. It was extraordinary to have reaped from the appointment of Lord Hutton a set of findings which transformed a crisis that threatened to be overwhelming into a vindication of every aspect of the government’s conduct, and of the prime minister’s moral probity in particular ...


Alan Bennett: Postscript, 19 February 2004

... may be a weasel in talcum powder. One person who saw it coming was Ludovic Kennedy who, hearing Hutton named to head the inquiry, correctly predicted the outcome. I looked up the judge, then Sir Brian Hutton, in Kennedy’s Thirty-Six Murders, where he pinpoints one of Hutton’s ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: False Intelligence, 19 February 2004

... provided by [the] British security services’. In the light of the evidence presented to the Hutton Inquiry, it is entirely believable that MI6 helped 10 Downing Street to persuade the British public that there was a case for war, just as the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon was doing in the United States. After all, John Scarlett, the present ...


Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... thirty years if a gun is involved). Ferguson got 22 years. Many, including Sir Anthony Hooper, a Lord Justice of Appeal until 2012, have serious misgivings about the use of joint enterprise. ‘The doctrine is too wide and should be limited so that only a person who intends to kill or cause grievous bodily harm is guilty of murder,’ Hooper told me. ‘A ...


Brian Barder: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission, 18 March 2004

... When I was asked, in November 1997, whether I would allow my name to be submitted to the Lord Chancellor for appointment as a lay member of the new Special Immigration Appeals Commission, I readily agreed, not only because I was flattered, but because I accepted that special procedures for appeals against deportation in national security cases were justified ...

At The Hutton Enquiry

Daniel Soar: Hutton’s Big Top, 11 September 2003

... of evidence aren’t very well blacked out). And here is a question put by James Dingemans QC (Lord Hutton’s chief – and, currently, chiefly benign – inquisitor) to Alastair Campbell: ‘Mr Powell told us yesterday that you had told him that Mr Baldwin had told you that the person who told him this information was Mr Sambrook.’ Campbell’s ...

He huffs and he puffs

John Upton: David Blunkett, the Lifers and the Judges, 19 June 2003

... point, ‘on which judges can build’. These fixed terms of imprisonment are a direct snub to Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, who last year published a directive for judges recommending 15 years as the minimum term for the most serious categories of murder. The proposed new legislation allows judges only a vestigial ...

Beware the Ides of Mogg

Will Hutton, 9 April 1992

The Great Reckoning: How the world will change in the depression of the Nineties 
by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg.
Sidgwick, 531 pp., £20, January 1992, 0 283 06116 2
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... on the threshold of a savage deflation caused by too much personal, corporate and government debt. Lord Rees-Mogg and his American acolyte, to whom is attributed all the leg work, have been bold enough to set themselves up as 20th-century prophets of doom with more than a modicum of good reason. But their pessimism arises as much from flagrant conservative ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... has sanctioned the killing of thousands in Iraq. He votes against the war but celebrates when Lord Hutton sandblasts the government’s slate clean. He is a diligent constituency MP but dislikes his constituents, at least en masse. They seem not to have registered that things have got better, as the song foretold. After the 2005 election victory, he ...


R.W. Johnson, 9 March 1995

The State We’re In 
by Will Hutton.
Cape, 352 pp., £16.99, January 1995, 0 224 03688 2
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... Will Hutton, the Guardian’s economics editor, has produced a book which is part show-biz – it carries a passionate puff from Ian McEwan on the front cover and leapt straight into the bestseller list – and part political event: it clearly aims to provide a sweeping economic and political platform for Labour, has been elaborated with the help of Tony Blair’s adviser, David Miliband, and sees Blair’s election as leader as an epochal event, finally settling Labour’s commitment to social democracy ...


Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... the hedge and given an artist’s prospect of the countryside.28 August. T. Blair claims to the Hutton Inquiry that if the BBC had been right and the Iraq dossier had been ‘sexed up’ he would have resigned. This is presumably intended to pre-empt any calls for his resignation at the conclusion of the Inquiry, which, whether it reports so or not, has ...

What did Cook want?

Jon Lawrence: Both ‘on message’ and off, 19 February 2004

The Point of Departure 
by Robin Cook.
Simon and Schuster, 368 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 7432 5255 1
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... of Iraq in March 2003. He may have wanted to get the book out quickly while Iraq, WMDs and Hutton still dominate the headlines, but, more important, writing exclusively about the Blair second term allows him to construct a narrative of political disillusion shorn of awkward questions about the compromises that had been necessary for him to stay loyal ...

Small Items with Big Implications

John Hedley Brooke, 1 December 1983

Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Norton, 413 pp., £11.95, September 1983, 0 393 01716 8
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The Great Chain of History: William Buckland and the English School of Geology, 1814-1849 
by Nicolaas Rupke.
Oxford, 322 pp., £22.50, September 1983, 0 19 822907 0
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... by them. One example was familiar and acceptable to Charles Darwin: the successive offspring of Lord Morton’s mare. Crossed with a quagga (a now extinct zebra with stripes confined to neck and forequarters), the Arab mare delivered a hybrid with stripes in evidence. Subsequently mated with a black Arab stallion, the mare again produced an offspring ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Aristocrats, 20 May 2004

... Campbell’s ‘mate’ John Scarlett as head of MI6, following his loyal performance during the Hutton Inquiry, doesn’t look like the most shining example of New Labour preserving the ‘merit’ in ‘meritocracy’.* The prime minister sternly reminded the press that Scarlett was selected by an independent panel, but who can say what subconscious ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: Reading Butler, 5 August 2004

... no report, even one a great deal more muscular than the Whitehall insider’s memorandum to which Lord Butler has given birth, has the capacity to settle whether Blair was acting in good faith over Iraq, since if to act in good faith is to act in the conviction that what you are doing is right, regardless of any empirical evidence that may convince other ...

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