Hutton so far

At the time of writing, the principal casualties of the Hutton inquiry so far seem likely to be: (1) the hapless Geoff Hoon, forced to admit in his evidence that he had played almost no part at any stage in the agonised discussions of what to do about the Gilligan allegations, the outing and/or disciplining of Dr Kelly or the question of throwing him to the jackals of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, all apparently matters on which the Ministry of Defence was the lead department but about which no-one thought it necessary either to consult or even to inform the Secretary of State for Defence;  (2) a highly agitated Andrew Mackinlay, MP, whose defence at the inquiry of his piranha-style questioning of Dr Kelly at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee hearing deserves to be read in full on the admirable Hutton inquiry web site and may well set a new record for panic-stricken incoherence;  (3) Ms Susan Watts of Newsnight, whose main objective in testifying to the inquiry seems to have been to try to establish that her television report based on what Dr Kelly had told her didn’t tend to corroborate Andrew Gilligan’s earlier reports on the Today programme based on what Dr Kelly had told him, even though it manifestly did (the answer to her plaintive question in her email to Dr Kelly — "Have I missed a trick?" — was obviously "Yes, I’m afraid so, dear");  and (4) Alastair Campbell, whose obsessive pursuit of his vendetta against the BBC seems to have crowded out all other activity in Whitehall and Downing Street for weeks on end, and whose resignation, without bothering to wait for Lord Hutton’s verdict, was announced today — although since no date for his departure and no successor to him seem to have been decided, the resignation apparently amounts to no more than a confirmation of his intention to move on, as announced several times in recent weeks.

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