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Anorak | Spin City

Spin City

by | 12th, August 2003

‘THE Hutton inquiry opened in earnest yesterday, but there was no let-up in the campaign of spin on both sides of the argument.

Spinning in his grave?

The main thing to emerge from the evidence was that two intelligence officers had formally complained about the wording of the dossier that formed the Government’s case for war with Iraq.

But that was countered by the fact that no-one suggested that the material evidence in the dossier was fabricated.

”The existing wording is not wrong,” one said, ”but it has a lot of spin.”

Even the pro-war papers like the Times and the Telegraph concede that yesterday was not a good day for the Government, but they question just how bad it actually was.

The Telegraph, for instance, points out that the man whose suicide gave rise to the whole inquiry, Dr David Kelly, does not emerge simply as the tragic victim.

”Dr Kelly has been portrayed as a whistle-blower tragically caught out by cynical forces that were too big for him,” it says.

”Yesterday’s written testimony suggests that the story may be more complex than the public has yet grasped. The stick that beat the Government looks this morning more like a thin reed.”

Nevertheless, a thin reed can cause some discomfort if wielded with sufficient enthusiasm – and the anti-war Indy is content to do just that.

It says the picture of Dr Kelly that emerged from the first day of the inquiry ”was entirely consonant with the impression of integrity” left by his appearance in front of a Commons select committee.

”He came across there as an honest man,” it says, ”slightly baffled perhaps, even resentful of the highly politicised hostility of the interrogation, but transparently honest.”

With two such divergent opinions after only a single day’s evidence, the Times is right to suggest that one of Lord Hutton’s hardest task will be to cut through the spin on both sides.

”He has to be aware,” it says, ”that various factions will try to establish their versions of what has emerged long before he produces his final verdict.”

And no-one more so than the various newspapers…



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