Having already had the big-hitters (Blair, Straw, Campbell, Goldsmith) round for questioning, the Chilcot inquiry looked like it was winding down. However, just as it seemed it was more or less over, steaming across Parliament Square on Monday morning came that ever present shit-stirrer of British politics, Clare Short.The former International Development Secretary is like her own one woman Taliban, popping up from the hinterlands of Westminster every now and again to chuck a spanner into British politics. It might be the vast, steel-grey helmet of hair, or the mouth that never moves (even when she speaks), or the fact that she seems to plough relentlessly on, no matter what gets chucked in her way, but I’m convinced she’s made out of pure granite. She’s not human at all; not born of the loins of man and woman, but fashioned under the heat and pressure of a Polynesian volcano, dug up by a tribe, dressed in outdated Jaeger suits and dodgy Dorothy Perkins scarves and shipped of to the UK to be a low-ranking Cabinet minister.
Her testimony to the inquiry was classic Clare. True to her volcanic origins, it was if she’d been storing away her spleen for the seven years since she resigned from the Cabinet, ready to errupt at the opportune time. Thar she blew; splattering the panel with claims that Blair leaned on Goldsmith to change his legal advice on the wear’s legality and that the Cabinet and Parliament were misled into supporting the war, all in that wonderful through gritted teeth Birmingham brogue, the stenographer left in her wake, struggling to catch up. She’s clearly a bitter woman with an axe to grind who didn’t have the courage to resign when it would have an the biggest impact, but she neverthless has been one of the few mainstream figures willing to expose the murky way decisions are taken in our country.
Stir on, Clare, stir on.