The Leveson Inquiry is a deeply unimpressive affair.
The Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq had quite a forensic procedure of interrogation – although it was not conducted with witnesses under oath as is Leveson, on a far less important matter.
The Leveson Inquiry is not much better than a fanfest, with QC Robert Jay accepting what answers he is given without scrutiny or pressing question; and the inquiry seeming grateful for the appearance before it of such luminaries as Sienna Miller.
Too often the inquiry staff crammed into the middle of the space – and its two principals, Leveson and Jay, seem to quiver with frissons of disbelief at the gilt of the celebs appearing before them.
Hugh Grant is a pompous irrelevance but was a big story.
Alastair Campbell got away with murder – almost literally. Did Jay ask about his use of the press in allowing them to tease out the identity of Dr David Kelly? Did he inquire about the relentless pressure Campbell from Downing Street put on the major news media to get the stories he wanted and kill those he didn’t?
There is another side – and a dimension of formative responsibility – to the whole issue of press standards and Leveson is going nowhere near it.
Today Tony Blair was allowed to get away with a breathtakingly dishonest swerve in his rather shrill complaint about the naughtiness of the press in adding views to fact, making what they printed a ‘political agenda’. This was largely about The Independent’s running campaign against the Iraq war – a war entered into on ‘a political agenda’ if ever there was as one. If The Indie fought fire with fire, good on them.
What, precisely, was at play in the creation by No 10 of the so called ‘dodgy dossier’ which Blair used to deceive a pliant House of Commons into voting to take the UK into the war against Iraq, as he was passionately advocating?
This appalling document was low level, out of date, plagiarised, distorted and presented as high level and current evidence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
How many lives were spent by the war our members of parliament agreed on the basis of the assured authority of this confection?
We make no apology for prioritising the damage done by the lack of morality and ethics in this episode of communications over the phone hacking antics in which many of the major mews media appear to have indulged.