Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The limits of reasoning

On the 4th of July, we lodged an FOI request with the Department for Transport, asking them to provide us with the reasons and technical arguments underpinning the Secretary of State’s earlier decision not to re-open the Gaul investigation on the basis of our disclosures.
(You can see the full exchange of correspondence at this link: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/evidence_
undermining_the_results)

The DfT eventually sent us their reply in which they stated that the Secretary of State’s decision “fully sets out the Secretary of State’s reasoning in relation to the re-opening of the investigation” and that the DfT held “no specific technical justification [of that decision] recorded in any form

The Department’s statement, short though it is, is pregnant with implied meaning.
Thence we found out that our disclosures and technical arguments made over the past two years have washed over the DfT like water off a duck’s back. This is an admission by the British government that concrete evidence, invalidating the results of a public inquiry, was not considered as required by law. (See also our post of 12 July 2007)
This, of course, is understandable since the Department know damn well that the outcome of the Gaul RFI represents a miscarriage of justice, without having to review our evidence. The officials’ obstinate non-engagement with the subject is their way of maintaining the deceit without getting themselves ensnared by their tongues.

Their claim that the Secretary of State’s decision “fully sets out the Secretary of State’s reasoning in relation to the re-opening of the investigation” is already hazarded, and so untrue as to make it laughable.
Given that the response previously received from the Secretary of State only mentions that “the Department is satisfied that there is no reason to doubt the outcome of the expert analysis that led to the Re-opened Formal Investigations conclusions and consequently there is no reason to re-open the investigation”, the DfT’s latest statement can only be taken as a crude parody or as a blunt admission that this is, actually, as far as the Secretary of State’s reasoning powers normally go.

Yet, through its very brevity, the DfT’s reply provides us with further confirmation that the decision not to re-open the Gaul RFI was unlawfully taken and politically motivated.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Answer from Lord Goldsmith

In response to our message of 25 June 2008, Lord Goldsmith has gracefully sent us his reply.

"As I am no longer Attorney General those matters are more properly for the present Attorney General and I therefore send a copy of your letter onto her."

(The present Attorney General will be looking forward to its receipt, I'm sure. We already contacted her office, a year ago, and that proved to be an unsuccessful enterprise.)

In truth being said, we did not address Lord Goldsmith in his present official role, but in his role as the leading party in the 2004 Gaul RFI.
We did not call upon his current employment duties as much as upon his remanent responsibility for an investigation conducted under his baton, and we did not count much on the requisites of formal routine, but on the munificence of lordship.

And we would have been very much interested to learn more about the rationale behind his past decisions.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Licence to jest

When Tony Blair relinquished his power, he left John Prescott behind to enliven his court. Thus, Mr Prescott has maintained his privilege to entertain and his licence to speak freely about whatever he liked.

It has always been one of the roles of the jester to turn reality on its head, so that people can see it the wrong way up and laugh at its funny appearance. This well-known trickiness of the jester may now give us the key to Mr Prescott's reflections recently published on his blog [www.labourhome.org/comments].

"Gordon's the right Captain" (albeit of the Titanic), he proclaimed there, making us realise how sometimes the truth can be spoken in jest, or with the opposite intention by the clown.

"I always find it interesting when people use maritime analogies when they talk about leadership", added John Prescott who served both "on a ship and in a leadership" - experience which makes him readily prepared to talk about the Titanic (though not about the Gaul).

"The best way to avoid disaster is to manage your way around the problem", Mr Prescott also suggested.
Well, that's exactly how complaints about the Gaul RFI have been dealt with, so far.
So, was John Prescott's suggestion simply a piece of his wisdom, or a baleful warning?
"For me, it's all about setting the right course", he further explained, proudly tinkling the bells on his hat.