Hutton and Butler : lifting the lid on the workings of power


Hutton and Butler : lifting the lid on the workings of power

edited by W. G. Runciman

(British Academy occasional paper)

Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, 2004

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Includes bibliographical references



These essays offer penetrating insights into the events and controversies that have dominated the news agenda for the last two years. Never has the path to a British war been mapped so fully and swiftly as the road to Baghdad in 2002-3. Between them, the Hutton and Butler reports lifted the lid on the most intimate workings of Government and those who strive to convert information into a weapon - whether they be a Prime Minister in Downing Street, an MI6 agent in the field, an intelligence analyst in Whitehall, or a journalist attempting to fuse fragments into hard copy. Within days of Lord Butler reporting on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, on British intelligence assessments of their quantity and lethality and on the ingredients of the Blair Cabinet's decision to go to war, the British Academy brought together a distinguished group of scholars and practitioners to probe the deeper themes at play in the rush of events and inquests. The essays examine: the legal issues raised by the manner and content of Lord Hutton's inquiry; the light both Hutton and Butler shed on the Blair style of Government; and the matter of trust between Government, the governed and the news media. This volume will be compulsory reading for anyone interested in current affairs and the realities of decision-making at the highest levels of Government.


  • Notes on Contributors
  • Editor's Preface
  • 1. What We Know Now
  • 2. The Hutton Inquiry: Some Wider Legal Aspects
  • Discussion
  • 3. The Lightning Flash on the Road to Baghdad: Issues of Evidence
  • Discussion
  • 4. Accuracy, Independence, and Trust
  • Discussion
  • 5. Lessons for Governmental Process

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