On its own, the recent miscarriage of justice perpetrated in FV Trident inquiry was neither inevitable nor particularly worthwhile. However, as an act in a long series of irregularities, the Trident RFI had an important role to play: it served to complete a pattern, inspire a sense of normality into the unlawful actions of the past UK administrations by conveying the message that this is how things are usually done nowadays, and blunt the sensitivity of the public to what once would have been considered an outrage.
The Trident inquiry was not simply about the fact that important evidence was concealed or distorted and fabrication substituted for factual proof in what constituted a conspiracy to defraud the public; no, it was about consecrating the notion that, no longer bound by scientific veracity when deciding their objectives, governments are also free to apply any measure of arbitrariness to official investigations and judicial processes. Government decisions, we are left to infer, are now based on such supreme notions that they can do away with both science and ethical commandments, at the same time.
After the Derbyshire and the Gaul formal investigations, the Trident inquiry was meant to consolidate a routine – the routine of standard deception. Thus, ex- government ministers and other Establishment figures involved in those earlier inquiries could now feel justified in claiming that their actions did not amount to downright fraud, but were merely acts of compliance with an established system - a system which transcends political regimes and which, like many systems nowadays, can never be questioned under caution.
Of course, while governments come and go, many deceptions survive political change by virtue of the old convention that wrongdoing by members of the Establishment should not be revealed to the laity.
However, such deviations from the norms of decency and justice as we have witnessed in recent times are too wide to be described as just ‘the usual Establishment foul play’; they can only be the result of our having been completely supplanted as the main beneficiaries of the State’s actions - the consequence of the fact that, today, the ultimate source of authority is no longer local, is no longer moral and no longer takes its subjects into account.