By Michael Neville
Throw a juicy bone to the slavering dogs of the media and watch them scramble around it! That's what the Hutton enquiry into the suicide of Dr David Kelly is. It is a sideshow.
Its purpose for the Government is to divert attention from the big questions, to which the death of Dr Kelly is no more than peripheral: the fact that Blair took Britain to war on false pretences. The idea that Iraq was a threat to the military security of Britain, still less to that of America, was always ridiculous.
The details of exactly how the spurious claim that Iraq could become such a threat in 45 minutes got into the Government's dossier is the least of it. And in fact what happened and why has always been perfectly clear. Here there is no mystery for a public inquiry to solve.
Blair decided that he would back Bush in a war on Iraq and then made the best "case" he could for going to war. He got Bush to agree to try and get UN licence for the war. He promised the British people that it would be "done" through the UN.
They failed to get UN endorsement for their war plans but proceeded anyway. In a choice between backing Bush or the UN Blair backed Bush. There was never much reason to doubt that he would.
It is good that Blair's authority in the country and in the Labour Party has been weakened. It is good that he is, it seems, heading for a defeat at this year's Labour Party conference. But we should not forget that most of the MPs who opposed Blair on the war would have backed Blair and Bush if the Americans had managed to bully and bribe enough countries to secure a UN majority for their war.
When Blair appeared in Hutton's court he said if the allegation that he had "sexed up" intelligence reports was true and he had knowingly told lies to Parliament then he would have to resign. It is unlikely that Hutton will call his bluff. The remit of the Hutton enquiry is to report on how and why David Kelly killed himself. The sideshow to distract attention from the real issue, so far looks like working for Blair.