The first result of Hutton?

I share the general consensus among most UK bloggers that trying to follow the Hutton Inquiry on weblogs would be a bit of a lost cause. The Inquiry seems very transparent anyway with all the material swiftly on the official website.

Bascially I think trying to draw conclusions before Hutton does would be rather silly for amateurs like us (not that it is stopping the ever-informed Amercian blogger Instapundit huh?)

However I will make one minor observation at this early stage. Is there not something unnerving about journalists in a democracy having to hand over their notes and tapes to what amounts to a state investigation?

I realise this is an extraordinary case and I am not sure what would happen if say Gilligan told Hutton his work was none of his business but I just find it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Whatever the outcome of this inquiry I suspect that one result will be that a lot of potential sources will think long and hard before speaking off-the-record to journalists. And that is not just bad news for journalists – it is bad news for the rest of us too.

Because off-the-record conversations allow information to reach the public domain that otherwise might be locked away from us due to the restrictions placed on people (for employment, legal or political reasons) to talk.

Losing that information is not in the interests of healthy democratic debate.