Thursday, 18 June 2009

another whitewash

In the aftermath of the expenses scandal - with trust in politicans hitting rock bottom - you might expect the government to make some effort to be open and transparent. You might think they would at least try to appear interested in subjecting politicians and their actions to scrutiny.

This week, however, we learnt the inquiry into the war in Iraq will be conducted in private. Despite calls from various quarters to have a full public inquiry, it looks like we're due another whitewash. The secrecy does not bode well for the whole process - an impression reinforced by the narrow remit and the Establishment line-up overseeing the inquiry.

They shouldn't be allowed to forget Iraq. After all, the occupation is far from over yet, and if the likes of army chief Richard Dannatt get their way, we'll have 'more Iraqs' and 'more Afghanistans' to come.

This issue goes to the heart of our supposedly democratic political system. In 2003 it was the decision to invade Iraq - despite mass demonstrations and majority public opposition - that prompted talk of a 'democratic deficit', of a gulf between the politicians and the people. That sense of political representation in crisis has deepened with the series of revelations about MPs' expenses.

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