that the BBC saw fit to go direct to the public with their account of the David Kelly affair and the Hutton enquiry in a 90 minute docu-drama on BBC1 last week. Hutton watchers and commentators, perhaps initially taken aback by the audacity, are coming up to speed on the issue. Anthony Cox at Black Triangle has been focusing on some interesting points, and put me onto an excellent article by Dennis Boyles in NRO that goes some way to exploring the political manoeuvring that surrounds the Hutton Enquiry. In spite of the simple moral that Boyles extracts from this very British mess for any impatient US readers, it’s complicated, if fascinating- and totally worthwhile.
Almost as good though much shorter is this piece by the mercurial Gerald Kaufman in the Times, flagged up by Anthony as a critique of that docu-drama- a programme that I for one hope will become infamous as a blatant attempt to flex media muscle in the face of democratic and judicial legitimacy. Incidentally, flexing media muscle seems to me to have been the driving force behind the BBC’s news coverage for a long time now, and the coverage of the war in Iraq, as well as the Kelly affair, might well become the case study of that phenomenon for future historians. If they can get away with events like Wednesday night, I certainly wouldn’t say that the BBC is losing in its arm wrestles with Government. There’s one cheeky parallel here I’d like to finish by making, between dictators and the BBC: democratic politicians come and go, but the BBC and dictators go on forever. Now I can’t think why I should have been drawn to think along those lines.