Wednesday, 6 August 2003

I Don't Buy Kelly Apology

Tom Kelly, the Downing Street media manipulator, is sorry that he called suicide victim Dr David Kelly a "Walter Mitty" fantasist.

You bet he's sorry. Sorry he was found out. Sorry his sneering remarks found their way into the press. Sorry he was quoted in an "off the record" conversation.

Sorry, but I don't buy it.

Kelly is an old hand at the game. He was Peter Mandelson's spin doctor in Northern Ireland before he went to work for Tony Blair. As Sir Bernard Ingham, spinner for Maggie Thatcher, observed yesterday, you don't make sensational remarks to political correspondents if you don't want them to see the light of day.

Kelly was obviously engaged in a pre-emptive smear campaign against Dr David Kelly, the weapons scientist who told what he knew about the war against Iraq.

That he should be so only hours before Dr Kelly goes to his grave is sick even by New Labour standards. But such is Downing Street's addiction to spin. It is their culture, the way they do things. And they can't change.

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