Friday, September 26, 2008

The sure thing

In our post of 20 August 2008 we revealed the content of a Freedom of Information request that had been sent to the Department for Transport and the response received from them. This response confirmed that “no specific technical justification [of the Secretary of State’s decision not to re-open the FV Gaul Investigation] recorded in any form” was held by the DfT.

Consequently, we sent back a reply and also lodged another FOI request asking the Department to provide us with “a full account of the reasoning (of whatever kind and however held or expressed) behind the Secretary of State’s decision not to re-open the Gaul Formal Investigation)”. (See the full text at this link:

The deadline for Mrs Kelly’s reply was 9 October 2008 and we were waiting with feverish anticipation for the arrival of that day, knowing that, whatever faults Ruth Kelly might have had, dishonesty was not one of them.
Alas, Mrs Kelly is to quit her post before that date. Who the next person to take over this 'poisoned chalice' will be, it is not yet known, but his/her identity, when revealed, will provide us with a clue as to whether the Prime Minister wants the cover-up to continue (and whether indeed he has a stake in it), or whether things will finally be resolved in a correct and honourable fashion.
So far, those with an interest in keeping the scandal under wraps have been quite lucky. But – as an old maxim warns us - the only sure thing about luck is that it changes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ruth Kelly

Mrs Ruth Kelly, it has been announced, is to quit her post of Secretary of State for Transport. The reason given for her departure was "spending more time with her family". Family and high-powered politics must be difficult to reconcile, we imagine.
Also, we hear, she had strong feelings about the government's position on the Embryology Bill.
In respect of what we are mainly concerned with - the FV Gaul Investigation - the Secretary of State for Transport found herself caught, once again, between a rock and a hard place.
Perhaps Mrs Kelly owed too many loyalties and they were all conflicting. No one can really serve more than one master, at the same time.
Anyway, we wish Ruth Kelly all the best for the future, and hope we haven't caused her too much offence.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Labour rondo

We are no longer in touch with the government. They are no longer governing; they are plotting, fighting the plotters or watching the plot.
The DfT, for instance, the department we are most concerned with, is now completely out of sorts, the officials waiting to see which way the wind will be blowing before taking even the smallest decision.
It’s the same all over again. The rebellious overture, the chorus of discontent, the war cries in the media, the panic, the bluster, the acrimonious retorts, the suspense, the empty declarations of loyalty or the opportunistic ambivalence, John Hutton’s eyes icily fixing us from the television screens, the foreboding lull and then… the return to the beginning.
We have seen them at it so often now that we can recognise their motives, the tactics and the idiosyncrasies of each of them, just as girls in a massage parlour can, after a while, recognise their clients by their individual penchants and dislikes.
After so many months, however, the monotony of this repetition is starting to irritate, wearing down our patience and turning it slowly into disgust. And the danger is that, if the plotters have their way, our disgust could turn into anger.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Objectivity Constrained

In their 30 year-long search for truth, the relatives of the trawlermen who lost their lives on the Gaul had to compete against a number of adversaries whose interests would not have been best served if the reasons for the tragedy had become known.
The victims’ relatives were not aware of the nature of the fight they were in, nor did they know the identities or the motives of their adversaries. All they knew was that they were not being given straightforward answers to their questions, and that the facts were somehow eluding them.
Although, in theory, meant to provide an explanation as to the most likely causes for the tragedy, the 2004 Gaul Formal Investigation, like a number of other public inquiries, became, in fact, nothing more than a case of ‘shadow commercial litigation,’ organised and controlled by the very parties whose interests would have been adversely affected by an impartial verdict. The Gaul RFI was therefore an unequal fight - dressed up as an expert and unbiased analysis - a fight the outcome of which was both pre-determined and inevitable.
Concerns have already been raised that, due to their legalistic and adversarial nature, many formal inquiries, instead of pursuing the truth, provide in fact a platform from which opposing parties, flanked by their legal representatives, can pursue their specific interests, and that, when the ‘adversaries’ are not evenly matched, it is usually the interests of the mightiest that prevail.
It is evident to us that improvements in respect of the rules by which formal inquiries are conducted are necessary and important.
However, above and beyond any rules and safeguards that may be applied, what is most important is the professionalism and personal integrity of the individuals involved - the principal guarantee that the results of an inquiry will be meaningful and sincere.

(More details to come)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Two years after

Yesterday we marked two years since this blog was started, two years since we made public our findings and our concerns regarding the miscarriage of justice in the Gaul Formal Investigation.

What has happened since? Nothing much. Nothing except gaining further knowledge about how the current regime works, how it respects the law and the rights of ordinary people, and how it retaliates when taken to account.

Two years after we have started this blog, the only conclusion we would draw is that we, as well as those whom the 2004 Gaul inquiry betrayed, are treated as insignificant, that financial & political might is always right, and that there are no longer any principles to be cherished, rules to be played by, or even appearances to be saved.

Ho hum, what to do next? ... Pursue the matter all the way to its rightful conclusion, of course.