6th July 2016 – On Chilcot

What glares through following Chilcot’s report, are the dangers of charismatic and narcisistic leaders – ideology-heavy but evidence-light – that modern media and political systems so often nurture. As we reflect on the lessons, Blair must be held singularly to account, but we must also look beyond him and consider the failure of much of our media to articulate dissenting voices. We must reflect on where the momentum took us and how our government transformed. What we don’t really see from the report is how our modern propaganda systems developed amid the drive to paste over blunders, play down torture and deflect responsibility for the rising death toll in the Middle East. Our elites continue to make policy in an Anglo-American bubble. As we move forward post-Brexit and post-Chilcot, Britain is left in a dangerous position, our path uncertain, our country rudderless, we were never more dependent on the US and never weaker in relation to it. Blair took Britain into the Iraq war blinded by self-belief, he dismissed remaining possibilities for peace, but what is really concerning is how impotent and toothless were the systems in place to challenge and check. Chilcot above all illuminates how easily misplaced faith and propaganda can make our democracy vulnerable.

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