A period of silence would be welcome (1)

Not Alastair's favourite book

“I remember once leaving Tony Blair in his sitting room, shortly after he had authorised a special forces operation, as I prepared to head home. As I reached the door, I looked back and Tony was sitting there, clearly thinking he was alone now, and he was a picture of loneliness and worry.”

Thus speaks Alastair Campbell, in a ‘tough at the top’ piece on Dave’s task in the failed Nigerian rescue.

Actually, The Knife does indeed think that Blair now feels the burden of his decisions, a post on that was how this blog started. The amazing thing is that Campbell is portraying himself as empathetic, able to identify with another’s emotional pain and remorse. Eh?

That’s not the Campbell we know.


Strangely quiet round here…

The Knife has written before on the medical aspects of David Kelly’s death. The ulnar artery is really very small indeed, and Dr Hunt the pathologist seems a little…er…sloppy.

Well, given the near inevitability of the case being reopened – wasn’t this always on the cards? – and the rash of publicity, including the usual fatuous crap from Charlie Falconer, I have one question.

Where’s Alastair Campbell?

Relax Alastair...they won't jail..er...me.

Stupid and…stupider

Two separate pieces of reportage today , which illustrate how to waste everyone’s time.

First up, Lord Charlie Whelan, currently receiving a lot of incoming fire. His interview on Left Foot Forward starts badly:


Well you know its not up to me to disagree or agree with the PM. I’m the political director of Unite and no way would I dream of getting involved in any of the industrial disputes.”  and then proceeds to  drift even further from reality.

As the only people who are likely to get to the end of  this fantasy are his family, and drunks doing it for a bet, he’d have been far better spending the time fishing. You would nearly get more sense from Denis MacShane’s Twitter feed.


Secondly,  the occasionally sane Blairista,  John “Dracula” Rentoul. His huff with the BBC contains the “minority view” that the Hutton Inquiry actually retains a shred of credibility, and then proposes, with respect to dead Iraqis:  “My view is that the true figure is likely to be in the range of 100,000-150,000 and most unlikely to be anything like as high as 600,000”  as obviously the first figure is perfectly OK.

I shall employ Dracula logic when I next have to tell a family that their son/daughter has been killed in an accident: “Look  at it this way, it’s better than 5 people dead…”


Post mortem…ad absurdum

Examined by MR KNOX
16 Q. Dr Hunt, could you tell the Inquiry your full name?
17 A. Certainly. Nicholas Charles Alexander Hunt.
18 Q. Occupation?
19 A. I am a Home Office accredited forensic pathologist.
20 Q. For how long have you been a Home Office accredited
21 forensic pathologist?
22 A. I have been on the Home Office list since 2001. I have
23 been practising full time pathology since 1994.

The Knife has attended many post mortems. They are always highly illuminating, and while there can be differences in interpretation, the bare anatomical facts are just that: facts.  I hadn’t actually realised that David Kelly’s post mortem was not in the public domain, until the bizarre decision by Lord Hutton to keep it under wraps for SEVENTY YEARS was revealed.

Looking at the official website from the Hutton Enquiry, there is actually a lot of detail  from the post mortem in the evidence of Nicholas Hunt, the pathologist involved. I do not question  Dr Hunt’s honesty and competence, although many have wondered  given the unique circumstances, but you have to question his conclusion:  “It is the haemorrhage as a result of the incised wounds to his left wrist…”  (that caused death).

I have often operated in this area myself, and I have seen many incised arteries. It is stretching credibility a long way to conclude that he bled to death from this. It’s not the biggest artery in the body,  it’s not even the biggest artery in the wrist, in fact it’s tiny.  There are lots of other concerns, ably described by Norman Baker, who has been uniquely vilified as a result, and  these concerns are still being properly raised by a group of qualified professionals. As a surgeon, I have to say that it stinks. As a member of the public, I would point out:

  • Why 70 years? The only conclusion is that  it is because everyone will be dead, although I very much doubt that the 70 years will be kept, one way or the other
  • The claim to be protecting Kelly’s family is ridiculous, given the unpleasant detail already in the public domain
  • The funeral was on 6th August 2003, at St Mary’s Church, Longworth in Oxfordshire. There has been a lot of blog chat about whether he was cremated or not, and the implication from the BBC report is that he was not: “..Dr Kelly was being laid to rest in the shadow of the north side of the building of the 13th Century church..”.
  • The picture at the top looks more like a cremation commemorative plaque than a headstone. This should be clarified, but the possibility of an exhumation, which would probably be of limited value, remains.  How would this be brought about? I suspect that it could only be as part of a criminal investigation, or if the family claimed sufficient concern to persuade the authorities that it would be their right. Both seem highly unlikely to happen.

In a very large cast of dodgy characters from the past thirteen years, Lord Hutton cuts a curious figure, hand picked by Mandelson, ridiculed for his report, he reportedly is a little huffy and sensitive due to the initial laughter at his conclusions, and  to the ongoing criticism. Get used to it M’lord. There is one way you could stop it though, it’s never too late…

Lord Hutton