A VERY BRITISH COUP: Short’s sensational evidence depicts the Blair administration as unconstitutional

Clare Short’s evidential style is more than just a breath of fresh air: she is laying bare how British Constitutional process has been subverted. There is a clear lesson for the Chilcot Panel in this.

How wonderful it is to hear a clear brain and zero-jargon Englishwoman in full flight. As I predicted, Clare Short has clearly and succinctly described how, after 1997, a very real and secret coup circumvented the way Government is designed to work in the UK. The Cabinet was ‘a talking shop for little chats’, ‘a place where nothing substantive was discussed’. As to Iraq, everything, she avers, was ‘done on a wing and a prayer’; ‘the Attorney Gerneral misled us into believing he had an unequivocal legal case for war’; ‘he was obviously under pressure’; ‘I categorically refute Blair’s suggestion that this was done for efficiency reasons’.

But in a broader sense – and steadfastly refusing to accept all Panellist alternative interpretations – Ms Short told the Chilcot sheep that ‘Under Blair, the machinery of government is unsafe and chaotic’.

Whatever she says in Part Two, Clare Short has done everyone in this country an enormous service. I salute her for it.

There is a massive onus on the Chilcot Inquiry now to recall witnesses and challenge previously given evidence. But above all, the real onus horribilis is for them (in their conclusions)to show how senior politicians and unelected advisors behaved illegally – and why this means constitutional practice must be codified and strenuously monitored.