The foreign affairs select committee was so scared of the Prime Minister, members couldn't even bring themselves to say that he'd misled the House of Commons when he claimed that Alastair Campbell's "Horlicks" of a dossier was based on "intelligence".
All he had done, apparently, was "inadvertently" misrepresent the dodgy dossier. If you believe that, then you believe that Campbell wasn't raising a row with the BBC as a smokescreen. I for one simply don't believe that Blair would give such prominence to a dossier he knew nothing about: even Blair questions Campbell sometimes. What politician wouldn't ask: "Where does this information come from?" Especially when it concerns reasons to go to war.
Isn't it strange how often our Prime Minister is blissfully unaware of what is happening right under his nose? He told the Commons he knew nothing about Peter Mandelson's home loan: he simply never bothered to ask his best pal where he got more than £300,000 from. (Mandelson actually wrote his begging letter to Geoffrey Robinson on Blair's official notepaper.) Then he didn't know anything about two £250,000 flats his wife had purchased. Now we are expected to believe that he was ignorant about the dossier. No wonder Campbell was so keen to launch his own weapon of mass distraction at the BBC.
I was in a BBC studio the day the select released its committee report, when I heard a producer shout: "Get Donald Anderson - he's much more important than Whelan." Certainly more important to the government. The first two things he said on the radio were: Campbell is innocent and Blair knew nothing.