Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website
Instead of focussing so much on possible causes of his loss of life, campaigners for a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly should be concentrating their attention on trying to establish exactly what happened before his final, fatal walk in the Oxfordshire countryside. Fresh light has been cast on the events that morning in July 2003 and it does suggests the Hutton Inquiry skated over the timeline of precisely who said what and to whom in the hours before the Iraq weapons inspector left home.

Any suggestion that the Prime Minister’s headline-grabbing remarks about Gaza and Pakistan were slips of the tongue by an uncontrolled ‘loudmouth’ could not be further from the truth.

Coalition government has not put an end to political spin but so far the Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration has been refreshingly free of an over-arching concentration on media presentation.  David Cameron and Nick Clegg have been as resolute as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in their determination to command the news agenda while not allowing their urge to manipulate the media to become an obsession. 

If ever an anti-spin award is introduced for public servants, perhaps the first recipient should be General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British Army, who is currently the target of a New Labour campaign of vilification.  Once Labour’s leading apologist, Lord Foulkes, entered the fray and started parroting the anonymous smears of the Blair-Brown spin machine, General Dannatt must have known he had finally made his mark.

Simon Lewis, the Prime Minister’s new official spokesman, says he only took the job on condition it would be non political and that he would be able to conduct himself with civil service neutrality. Unlike previous Downing Street directors of communications such as Alastair Campbell, Lewis is not a Labour Party appointee.  He has accepted a two-year civil service contract and when asked (at a debate in London at the Reform Club 1.7.2009) whether he would like to remain at No.10 should David Cameron defeat Gordon Brown in the general election expected in May 2010, he made it clear he has an open mind and intends to wait and see what happens.