When the Chilcot Inquiry began in November 2009, I wrote this in my first blog post on the subject:-
"I see that Sir John is seventy years old (a feeling I know only too well) so I cannot see why he, on whom so many hopes are riding, doesn`t do us all a favour and, at the end of his Inquiry, tell it like it really was. After all, what has he got to lose? I think we probably know what the outcome should be - Blair, Campbell, Scarlett, Goldsmith and most of the Cabinet of the day guilty of dragging us into a conflict on a false prospectus so as to keep `in` with Bush and his maniac administration - but I wonder if Chilcot will have the courage to confirm it and, if he does, what the consequences might be for those responsible."
Since then, as the Inquiry has dragged on and on, my suspicions grew that we might be heading for yet another establishment whitewash, as per the Hutton Inquiry that predated Chilcot. This was based largely on the inordinate delays surrounding such issues as the `Maxwellisation process,` which gave those likely to be criticised in the report the opportunity to respond in advance of the report being published.
In short, I expected the worst. But instead, we have had not only a measured, thorough and in many ways the courageous report that I hoped for all of seven years ago; moreover, we had Sir John Chilcot`s impressive presentation of the report to the waiting world which was full of quiet authority, sound reasoning and considered judgement.
So it seems only fair for me to apologise to Sir John and his distinguished colleagues for ever doubting that they would indeed produce a report which truly would `tell it like it really was.` So, along with my apology go, I`m sure, the thanks of a grateful nation for an Inquiry that has done much to restore some confidence in `the establishment.`
Watching Sir John deliver the Inquiry`s findings, I was reminded of David Steele, white haired, bespectacled, going out to bat against the rampaging Australians in a Test Match all those years ago. He took them on, scored his runs for England with a skill and determination that restored pride in English cricket and earned him the headline `The Bank Clerk goes to War.` We need more David Steeles and more John Chilcots to help us through these troublesome times.