OPINION: Leader - Intelligence inquiry requires substance

It is too early to tell who will be the true winners and losers from Hutton, though all the early evidence suggests the reputation of the law lord himself would have been healthier had he declined Tony Blair's kind offer to take part.

Similarly, the BBC - as described elsewhere in this issue - will be ruing the day it placed its reputation for independence above one for accuracy.

The Prime Minister and his former director of strategy and communications, Alastair Campbell, ought to be jumping for joy having been given such a clean bill of health, but they would surely have preferred even mild criticism - if only because it would have bolstered the credibility of the critic.

Finally, it is to be welcomed that the other PROs involved, specifically the Ministry of Defence press office staff who confirmed scientist Dr David Kelly's name to reporters, were likewise exonerated, even if it surprised everyone that their boss - defence secretary Geoff Hoon - was similarly cleared.

Going forward, recent steps taken by the Government are insufficient.

Announcing a further enquiry into the use of intelligence material before the Iraq war could be seen as a commitment to openness, but the terms of reference are so narrow as to justify claims that Blair wants both to have his cake and eat it. If this intelligence inquiry smells as bad as the Hutton aftermath, it will count for nothing.

Jordan PR work deserving of praise

In contrast to the high politics and low cunning of Westminster, it is reassuring that not everyone in the public eye has lost their knack for image management. Those marooned in the Queensland jungle for ITV's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! could surely teach politicians a thing or two about finnessing reputations.

Having first showed a more stoical character than most of her external stakeholders thought her capable of, glamour model Jordan has reverted to her enduring brand values (shameless tease). And while Lord Hutton might be seeing his name dragged through the mud, that other Lord, Charles Brocket, has won the hearts and minds of the tabloids despite being a toff with criminal form. Quite an achievement.

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