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Secretary’s report – February 2004

I’m beginning to get worried. I keep these monthly ramblings in a separate folder on my computer and the list has gone off the bottom of the screen .... time for a new quill, I suspect. This comes hard on the heels of our Annual General Meeting, prepared with the usual elaborate ritual. “Oh, is it February again? I suppose we’d better have our AGM. And we need a report.” Not telling who that was, but some will guess.

A couple of names on your Committee have changed, but I am delighted to say that Rosemary Addington has again agreed to fulfil the role of chair. Not sure whether that’s upright, arm or easy, but it certainly is no deck chair position trying to keep our work moving ahead, and dealing with the torrent of mail she receives. I see the filtered pile of mail once month, and that impresses me. Glad also to have Noel Hamel in a position as Vice Chair (look, I’m not even going to begin discussing what THAT stands for) where we can play on his sense of responsibility and co-opt his varied talents.

For me, a feature of our AGM last Wednesday was the impassioned way that John Johnson launched into the Hutton report (I think he raised this under Any Other Business, which is about where it belongs). I wish I’d recorded John’s splendid assault on that monument to our system. For the record, there was a strong buzz of “Quite right” round the room when he finished.

I watched the reports of the Hutton Inquiry regularly, and went along to the dramatisation at the Tricycle Theatre. The impression was one of care, balance, deliberation. How different from the report. It’s as though you and four other people watch a car crash. Four of you see that the car swerved across the traffic hitting a cyclist, mounted the pavement and hit a group of pedestrians, killing one of them. The odd one out noticed that one of the car’s rear lights had failed, and comments that the car was in an illegal condition because of that.

Now, I look forward to what John will have to say when Lord Buttwash gets round to examining how Mr Blair got such a cock-eyed view of the truth. It was so cockeyed that he was able to persuade the Commons to vote for a war, without having sound proof of the most crucial underlying assertions (underlying is a good word, isn’t it? I wish we had more of it in our government, but I fear it is more a case of Overlying).

My prediction is that the Buttwash inquiry will take us nicely up to the next general election as it carries through a process of deep probing investigation. It will stop two months before election day and the report will be months in gestation. When it emerges it will say that everyone involved was really, really sincere in their hatred of war and violence*, deeply committed to finding the truth at all times and it was such a pity that that sneaky rotter S Hussein (and he is or was a rotten bastard, little doubt of that at least) was so sneaky that he was able to deceive the hawk like vigilance of our finest intelligence and thus lead our Leader into Error.


*There’s a good adage used within Alcoholics Anonymous. “We judged ourselves by our intentions. Others judged us by our actions.” Useful, that!