I just took a quick stroll around the block from Old Queen St, to check out the situation on the ground outside the Chilcot Inquiry. The most striking thing is how few protestors there are – about ten at most, I’d say, and a fraction of the number that marched out against Blair a few weeks ago. Brown doesn’t even make one placard’s list of – and I quote – "Lying R. Soles," which includes Blair, Campbell, Straw and Goldsmith.
It’s all rather suggestive of how Brown has managed, over the years, to separate himself from those who made the political and moral case for war. But there lies the problem. In distancing himself from Blair et al, Brown has emphasised how he – as Chancellor – did little more than control the purse strings. A shrewd move, perhaps, when the Iraq War was at the forefront of people’s minds in 2005. But now, I’d suggest, the funding of the military could be a more politically toxic issue, across the country, than the former actions of a former Prime Minister.
Either way, not much has happened in the conference hall yet – Brown thought the war was the "right decision"; he was "focused on reconstruction"; there weren’t any "financial barriers" in the way, and so on and so on. Yep, so far, I think Iain Martin has probably captured it best.
P.S. Here’s my iPhone shot of the, er, carnage: