Clare Short is indeed a brick, and tomorrow in front of the Dead Sheep’s Society she will be another brick in the wall- of which more below. In the meantime, this morning it’s Top Brass Time down Chilcot.
I’d love to give you some inside track on Jock Stirrup, but I haven’t got any army moles, and in truth I know nothing interesting about the bloke except he has the most extraordinary name: either his parents or his mates clearly had a sadistic sense of humour. My one reliable MoD snitch has nothing of any substance or gossip to add. The key thing to note is that, while he only got the top job in 2006, Stirrup was No 2 throughout the Iraq War. As he likes golf and uses words like ‘challenging’, my guess is Jock will not be tickling the tweeters much. We shall see: he’s on at 10.00am.
Meanwhile, Clare Short has gone from monastic silence to verbal torrent with no stage in between. While many in the Westminster fold are seeing a trend to Ms Short’s statements, this is hardly news: she loathes Tony Blair, and thus should be able to establish a rapport with Chilcot panellist Rod Lyne immediately. By saying that GB was ‘marginalised’ during the War, she is also exonerating the One Eyed Snake, but this doesn’t make her a Brownite. Clare is and always was a Shortite, in that she stands up for the vulnerable folk, whoever they might be. She will tell the truth, and thus become unique in the annals of the Iraq Inquiry to date.
However, while Brown will lap up her evidence (“Excellent…’marginalised’…I like that word, it’s a good word…I’ll use it…just the thirty-eight times…”) and some of the Joint Lib-Lab Crucify Brown Liaison Committee are miffed at this turn of events, fingering Brown for cheque-writing isn’t – and never was – the point of the Clegg/Hoon strategy. Fingering him for not writing cheques would be good….but only a start.
Informed sources and a logical look at some of the 2003-2006 timelines are narrowing down the leads for investigation…as we will exclusively reveal later today.