Is Tony Blair on the verge of getting his comeuppance? Or is it a wild dream that will not come to pass?
There are speculations afoot that the official inquiry into the Iraq war has indicated that it intends, bar government interception, to criticise Tony Blair for secretly plotting with George W. Bush for Britain to join the invasion.
Politicians, civil servants and military officers facing censure will be approached within the next two weeks. Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry chairman, said that it had identified those who would be criticised for ‘some aspect of the part they played’ in the invasion in 2003 and the seven-year occupation.
The former senior civil servant is, we are told, insisting on publishing details of Mr Blair’s handwritten notes to President Bush in 2002 and records of his discussions with the American leader and his successor at the White House. He is also seeking to disclose previous unknown discussions between Gordon Brown and the US presidents.
The request to publish details of the negotiations, in breach of diplomatic protocol, has led to speculation that they contain crucial evidence that will lead to criticism of Mr Blair’s motivation for joining the US-led invasion.
The inquiry was told that Mr Blair had agreed to support the war before the Cabinet or MPs had been consulted.
The alleged deal was months ahead of the publication of a dossier of intelligence used to justify the participation of British forces that claimed – wrongly, as it turned out – that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Blair has repeatedly and defiantly denied misleading Parliament and the public over the case for war.
Sir John wrote to David Cameron on Tuesday last week setting out progress in the inquiry, which has been running for four years at a cost to the Treasury in excess of £7.5 million.
Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, has been asked to authorise the publication of discussions in Cabinet and committees as well as Mr Blair and Mr Brown’s discussions with the American presidents.
If the government agrees to the public disclosure of currently secret documents letters setting out the provisional criticism of individuals are due to be sent at the end of October.
What does all this mean in practice? Nothing we haven’t heard before and that no action will be taken against Mr Blair and any of his cohorts at the time. It will prove a meaningless exercise apart from pointing the finger at Blair, whose Houdini-like character will not suffer an iota of guilt nor will it diminish his influence across the globe. In fact, his notoriety will boost his wealth and win him more friends in certain quarters where authoritarian regimes flourish.
Good old Blair, you will, I’m sure, have the last laugh as always. Those in government today are amateurs in comparison. They are no match for your wily machinations.
Keep going, and the Devil will immortalise you.