Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jack's right

Much as I hate to say it Jack Straw is right to block the early publication of the minutes from the cabinet meeting on the discussion on going to war with Iraq.

Its tempting to get on the band wagon for freedom of information here, and I suspect Labour have some very dirty linen they don't want washing in public. But there is a key issue about the form of government we want to have.

If cabinet minutes are freely available before the usual period of time then people will be guarded about their contribution. Some will grandstand, other will keep quiet, and - and this is the main point - the real meeting and decision will take place else where. That alternative decision making will probably be ad hock, and probably won't involve all the people who are cabinet ministers, but other who are "press advisers" etc.

So instead of freedom of information we would loose cabinet government. ( Okay I know Labour effectively operated from a Sofa for ten years, but that their sloppy shameless style of government. )

None of this means that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw etc aren't war criminals - its just that cabinet minutes shouldn't be used to prove ( or disprove ) it.


Anonymous said...

Hear, hear.

Prodicus said...



No; as the Iraq War constitutes an extraordinary event way beyond the norm, requesting Cabinet minutes in order to make a case for the indictment of Blair et al does not create a precedent.