Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A small test of integrity

We are currently still waiting for the final conclusions of the FV Trident Re-opened Formal Investigation to be published. However, from what we’ve gathered so far, it seems that the government has already decided to prevent the truth from emerging at the end of this protracted and costly inquiry; we do not believe for a moment that the Aberdeen Sheriff will be able to deliver anything other than the outcome requested by UK ministers.

The current government should have had few reasons to manipulate the results of this formal investigation, unless pressures threatening to affect their political interests have recently provided them with suitable motivation.

Of course, it is not difficult to understand that those who directed the cover-up in the Gaul RFI have a vested interest in seeing that the Trident inquiry goes the same way. Delivering justice in the Trident case, they might fear, could open the Gaul’s families’ eyes and their appetite for a similar treatment.

What may be even more daunting is that subsequent disclosures about the miscarriage of justice in the Gaul case would be linked to some of the most prominent entries in the New Labour Party bestiary.

Notwithstanding that, we would urge our government once again to resist undue pressures, permit an honest conclusion to the Trident investigation and allow the families of the victims to finally obtain justice. It is too ugly to persist with the deception, especially when these families know very well that they are being deceived.
It is also imprudent to think that the truth - already difficult to contain - would not, sooner or later, overcome official censorship, lies and the suppression of facts. Any delay in acknowledging this can only make a future exposure many times more embarrassing.

The Trident RFI may be just a small test of official integrity, but small things like this determine the direction of a government’s course and the chances they have of passing other, more strenuous trials.



RAJ said...

Having read this post I do agree that this may be a test of integrity for the government however they are not alone in this. Having tried unsuccessfully to gain any information about the marine Safety file MS 92/12/09 the silence on this matter is deafening, the OAG have still to reply on the subject as are the MCA DfT collectively and as individuals, what is totally astonishing is that this is the only question we have asked that has not has as much as an acknowledgement
The general feeling I have on the subject is that they would wish the Sherriff to be able to make a judgement without any bad news put in front of him, no doubt only to furnish the public with the information sought after the event.

Once again I would like to thank everyone involved for their support.


gadfly said...


Yes, you are right, the government (i.e. the political side) is not alone in this. The civil service are also party to this, if not the main offenders. Unless the civil service (fundamentally corrupted during the last 13 years) is 'cleansed', this government will never really be in power.

I was going to suggest that you use the WhatDoTheyKnow.com website, where the way authorities comply or do not comply with the FOI Act is subject to public exposure.

The Freedom of Information Act states: "A public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt."

I am not really surprised that they did not acknowledge your request for information. It is an unwritten maxim within the Civil Service that if something disagreeable comes up that cannot be easily managed, ignore it and eventually it will go away. As yet, our FOI request to the MAIB has also been left unacknowledged.

Best regards,


Raj said...

Unlike the Department I will have to ammend my previous post in the interest of accuracy.
The OAG have responded to a question posed about the possible shredding of evidence they said
" With regard to your letter concerning the MCA file I understand that this file was routinely disposed of through the record management process . I can confirm that this is usual policy and practise in government offices for files to be destroyed after a fixed retention period unless specifically marked for longer retention . I have no further information on this and this was not a matter handled by this office"

And I don`t suppose they think it was strange it was looked at in the 2002-2003 period and was connected to a current RFI and was destroyed then ?
I can only assume that this is the usual policy to which they refer!


gadfly said...


At the first sight, the OAG explanation appears to be technically correct. However, as is the case with many official statements, problems start to come out when you look into the detail.
The responses from OAG (& DfT) warrant therefore a more thorough treatment and we intend to dedicate them a special post.

Best regards