Thursday, January 29, 2004

can you get a backlash from a whitewash?
Apparently you can.

- Half of Britons believe the Hutton inquiry into the death of Iraq weapons expert David Kelly was a whitewash, according to a newspaper poll.

The NOP survey for the London Evening Standard said 49 percent agreed with the question "do you agree or disagree that the report was a whitewash".

Four out of 10 of those questioned said they disagreed and 11 percent said they didn't know in a poll of 521 people conducted on Wednesday.

Hutton's report cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of lying to parliament over the Iraq war and piled blame on the BBC, which broadcast a report accusing the government of exaggerating the case for war.

Seven out of 10 of those polled said there should be an independent inquiry into the reasons the government gave for the war.

A third said they were now less likely to vote for Blair, compared to three percent who said it was more likely.

As the government never seems to learn, sometimes total victory is pyrrhic victory. If Lord H had done the typically judicious thing and come up with something anodyne, most people would have been happy to forget about the whole thing. Now he's decided to support the government against the evidence, then the evidence he chose to dismiss or disregard is brought forth once again and chewed over before a curious public.

Grinding the BBC's face in the dirt doesn't look like such a popular move either.

If the report had been more impartial, the Tories could have comfortably criticised both the government and the BBC, as is their habit. Now they're forced into the position of defending the BBC and going on the offensive against Hutton. Howard gets his teeth into the issue here.
(via Matthew Turner)

The whole furore also has the pleasant effect of making Murdoch's pravda press look isolated. This is not over...