The ghost of Tony Blair has haunted the corridors of the Westminster parliament for the past two weeks. David Cameron acknowledged that bad memories of the war in Iraq, and the dubious intelligence reports published to support it, had “poisoned the well”. Many members of parliament experienced painful flashbacks to the “dodgy dossier” and chose to defy their current leaders.
A terrible clanging sound, emanating from Mr Blair’s chains, can also be heard as the House of Commons public accounts committee pursues its inquiries into the management practices of the BBC. Lord Patten of Barnes, the BBC Trust chairman, and Mark Thompson, his former director-general (now steering The New York Times through shark-infested waters), have presented starkly different versions of who was aware of, and responsible for, some remarkably generous pay-offs to departing BBC executives. MPs can hardly believe their luck at having stumbled on such a noisy hornets’ nest.