Yes but, no but, that Tracey Blair, she’s a liar

Simon Hoggart on Short’s appearance at Chilcot:

Clare Short, the former development secretary, gave richly entertaining evidence to the Iraq inquiry. It was like watching a highly respected international statesperson whose brain was being taken over by Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard. Answers tumbled out at endless length.

She would give her overview of the Middle East situation, and then suddenly you could almost hear her saying: “Yes but, no but, that Tracey Blair, she’s a liar she is, and that Sharon Bush, she’s no better, they was fibbin’, they hate me, yes but …”

The inquiry seemed distressed by her tone. This is not the way international statespersons are supposed to talk. She painted a picture of the world today if her advice had been heeded: a Palestinian state, peace in the Middle East, and a “beautiful” UN resolution! Everything would have been better.

“A counterfactual universe,” said Sir John Chilcot, in a voice so dry you could have used it to set a permanent wave. The public loves politicians who say what they mean; mandarins can’t stand them.