Anorak

Anorak | The White Stuff

The White Stuff

by | 29th, January 2004

‘IT’S somewhat fitting that on a day when much of Britain lies beneath a blanket of white snow, the Independent should lead with the word, ‘WHITEWASH?’

An officer shows how the Army managed in Iraq with no guns

To give the paper its full dues, the headline words, printed floating on the centre of a pure white page, read: ‘WHITEWASH? THE HUTTON REPORT. A SPECIAL ISSUE.’

That line about this being a special issue has a double meaning, what with the Law Lord’s report into the death of Dr David Kelly being an eagerly awaited matter of importance and the paper dedicating a massive proportion of its daily news coverage to it.

But then all the papers have masses to say about Lord Hutton and his report into whether the BBC, the Government, both or neither were complicit in the ruination of the scientist.

The actual report is blessedly not recounted in full by any of the papers, although the Times does have the transcript of Lord Hutton’s own summary of the case.

The stand-alones say much that we need to know: ‘Dr Kelly did not say the Government knew the 45 minute claim was wrong’; and ‘There’s no dishonourable…duplicitous strategy…covertly to leak Dr Kelly’s name.’

All pretty cut and dried there, then. But this case is in part an emotive issue – the death of a man can be little else but.

And while the Times’ Matthew Parris leads with a tale on the suicidal doctor (Hutton rules out foul play), talking about how when he retraced Kelly’s last steps he found the Oxfordshire countryside where Kelly’s body was found ‘heavy’ and lugubrious, the Guardian’s review is dominated by a single defining shot of the episode’s great survivor, Tony Blair.

His toothsome grin, the glint of zeal in his eyes and the perkiness of his arched eyebrows are positively maniacal.

If this is a whitewash, if there is more to this pitiful event than even the eminent Lord Hutton can or cares to discover, if blame can be attributed to more than just the BBC, Tony Blair looks clean.

The Prime Minister has been cleared of all blame, but damage has been done. How many of us really believe that he, unlike the Indy’s cover, is whiter than white?’



Posted: 29th, January 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink