Today begins what I anticipate to be a long series of posts. It shall consist of letters written to prominent politicians and public figures, asking for clarification to particularly ambiguous statements made in other parts of the media. The point raised with Lord Falconer (below) is perhaps of minor importance, but I do believe his comments are characteristic of The Government’s tendency to present non-arguments as something more substantial. Blogs and The Internet are the perfect place to examine such comments in more detail.
I am writing to ask for a clarification on comments you made to journalist Marie Woolf, published in The Independent newspaper today (5/09/2005).
You are quoted as saying:
That there was a disagreement about that issue [the decision to go to war in Iraq] should not lead to a corrosion in trust. Plainly those who disagree with us on Iraq do not in any way forfeit our trust, and it should not be vice-versa.
Regardless of whether or not the decision to go to war was correct, your comments seem to imply a willful misunderstanding of the nature of the public disagreement the Government has faced over this issue since September 2002. I suggest the Government did not lose trust because of the decision made in light of the facts available at the time. Instead, trust was forfeited due to the perceived Government duplicity concerning the veracity of those facts, and indeed the chronology of the decisions made. Likewise, the BBC also lost a great deal of trust over its presentation of the facts during the Kelly-Gilligan affair.
If you think someone is lying to you, is it not perfectly rational, sensible and prudent to trust them less? Were your comments directed towards campaigners against the decision within the public at large, or against specific sections of the media? In any case, trust is surely not a right, but something to be earned.