Category Archives: Tony Blair

Cost of policy during Tony’s appearance at the Iraq Inquiry? £273,000

After winning my seat at the Iraq Inquiry, I set off down to London to take my place. And was greeted with scenes of all out police vigilance.

After a kindly police officer calculated the numbers of officers on duty, I set out to find out the cost of such an operation, and was delighted to have my FOI request upheld.

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

18 March 2010

Dear Ms Styles

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010020002382

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 09/02/2010. I note you seek
access to the following information:

* I would like to know how much policing of the Iraq Inquiry has cost,
particularly how much the day Tony Blair attended cost, and how many
police officers were there. I attended on the day and spoke to an
officer who outlined that there were 150 outside alone.


To locate the information relevant to your request searches were
conducted at Finance Services.


The searches located a number records relevant to your request.


After considering whether any qualified exemptions were applicable to
this case, I have today decided to disclose the located information to
you in full.

The cost of policing the Inquiry on days other than when Tony Blair
gave evidence has not been specifically recorded. Any additional cost
to the MPS is minimal because the area around the QE2 Conference
Centre forms part of the normal policing of the “Government Security
Zone” put in place to protect the seat of government.

The estimated total cost of policing Tony Blair’s attendance at the
Chilcot Iraq Inquiry and associated events is **273k.

**178k of this estimate is in relation to opportunity costs. These
costs cannot be regarded as an additional cost to the MPS; rather, the
officers assigned to these duties would otherwise have been assigned
to other policing duties or operations.

**95k is additional costs in respect of overtime (**61k) and non-pay
costs (**34k). Non-pay costs include transport costs, catering costs,
air support costs, the erection of barriers and road signs for public
safety/road closures and the purchasing of specialist equipment.

657 police officer shifts and 28 police staff shifts were worked
during the operation.

The estimated costs highlighted above may change. The actual cost of
policing the event will be included in the annual cost of public order
policing report, which will be published on the MPA website in July


Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right
of complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
write or contact Becca Oram on telephone number 0207 230 3101 quoting
the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Becca Oram
Business Management Officer (Information)
Resources Programme Office

The Iraq Inquiry

First published at

Alistair Campbell stumbled on his words. For the first time I have ever seen, he has lost his cool. But this wasn’t during the Iraq Inquiry.

Like Fern Britton, the ‘morning political heavyweight’ who tackled Tony Blair a few weeks ago, Andrew Marr sleighed yet another New Labour Dragon on the sofa.

Campbell regained his composure during the Sunday morning roasting, and blamed the persistent line of questioning for his hesitation; the media is out to get him, a claim reiterated on the couch with the Loose Women on Tuesday.

But the real questions, it seems, are being asked outside of the investigation.

I visited the Iraq Inquiry, jovial… rather sadly, that I’d managed to get a ticket to see Tony Blair. Here, after yet another Inquiry, his uppance would come…

Blair was made Middle East Peace Envoy for the UN, the EU, the US and Russia on the day he left office in 2007, (yes, after Afghanistan and Iraq), yet he took the photo-opportunity to condemn Iran throughout his evidence.

He spoke of “security”, “fear”, “risk” and “attack” but just how alarmed should we be? After all, the Iraq War was supposed to make our streets safer?

The BBC reported on the 23rd January that “The UK terror threat level is being raised from “substantial” to “severe”, Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said.”

Almost as unclear as some of Blair’s justification for war; “What if the intelligence was right and we hadn’t acted?”, “If Saddam was getting WMDs, I thought he might attack the UK”, “It wasn’t something that people disputed at the time”.

“The relationship with the US is vital for our security” Blair urged, “I didn’t want America to feel like it was doing it on its own”. Since Barack Obama came to power, he has distanced himself from any “special relationship” with the UK. Probably out of coolness, to shake off the International Lap Dog.

Ultimately Tony Blair’s defence of the ‘intelligence’ on Weapons of Mass Destruction was, “I believed it, beyond doubt”.

From Thatcher to the height of the Blair reign, the position of prime minister has centralized to the point where Blair allowed his own judgment to be the justification. David Cameron is reportedly checking all Tweets made by his shadow ministers in the run-up to the general election.

The lines of question were often probing: “Whose advice were you listening to who didn’t agree with you already?” Chilcot queried. Blair was also lead around a series of “Why Iraq, why now questions”.

But to the dismay of the 700 people who thought they had the golden ticket, they couldn’t get the same answers Fern Britten had pleasantly posed before he appeared.

One only need see the sign of a protester outside the building to see what ‘the world’ might now think: “7 million Iraqis killed, injured or made homeless since 2003”.

Associated Press estimated last year that more than 100,000 civilians had been killed, but for every innocent person, there are relatives who have lost a loved one, looking for somebody to blame.

A protester was restrained trying to perform a citizen’s arrest on Blair, influenced by, a website offering a reward to people “attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest” on Mr Blair “for crimes against peace”. But he left without detention.

Peter McKay said in the Mail “Perhaps we need an inquiry into inquiries themselves — how they are set up, why some people are chosen for them above others, and the true motives of those who decide to have them.” And, apart from the format being the obvious flaw, I’m afraid he might be right.

The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on how much the policing of Blair’s Second Coming had cost. But a helpful Met Police Officer who had been drafted in for the day said that just outside the building there were more than 150 officers- four higher ranking officer per patrol of 21. You do the maths.

Words are the only things that last forever- visiting the Iraq Inquiry

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First published in Pluto Student Newspaper.
The Iraq Inquiry started last week and after serious deliberation over the previous months Gordon Brown said it will be held in public. So we undertook our public duty to attend the hearing on Monday.

Unlike the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, the Iraq Inquiry “is not a court of law. The members of the Committee are not judges, and nobody is on trial.”

Members of the audience were sceptical about this remit.

If evidence is deemed to be a threat to national security, the cloak can be cast back over
proceedings. It will be interesting to see what happens when Blair makes his appearance early next year.
There were no lawyers present, which meant Sir David Manning, former foreign policy adviser to the Prime Minister, spoke at length.

His evidence highlighted the New Labour dependence on unelected advisers. While Condaleeza Rice, then US Secretary of State’s name frequently came up, the UK foreign secretary did not.

Robin Cook had been the Foreign Secretary until he was moved in the 2001 general election.
And the new appointment, Jack Straw was, by Manning’s account, nowhere to be found.

He emphasised that when Bush and Blair met, they did not just talk about Iraq. Which again makes you wonder why the PM was taking such a front seat in someone else’s portfolio.

Largely reading from a document he’d brought in with him, it was almost like he was trying to bury the important things. Or bore everybody so they didn’t come back for the second half.

The man leading the Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot was Staff Counsellor to the Security and Intelligence Agencies from 1999 to 2004 and the National Criminal Intelligence Service from 2002 to 2006. Both are government intelligence agencies.

Michael Crick, Political Editor of BBC’s Newsnight commented on the appointment of war historian Sir Lawrence Freedman to the inquiry in his blog on the 15th June: “Critics of the war might argue Sir Lawrence was himself one of the causes of the war!

“The professor once told me how, back in 1999, he was contacted by Downing Street seeking his thoughts for a speech on humanitarian intervention which the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair was about to make in Chicago.

“When was military action justified for, liberal, humanitarian reasons?

“Sir Lawrence says he was astonished when he heard and read Mr Blair’s famous Chicago speech- perhaps the most important of Blair’s premiership – that it was based largely on the memo he had sent to Number 10.

“And the rest was history.”

He went on to question the appointment of another historian, Sir Martin Gilbert: “In 2004, he went so far as to compare US President George W Bush and Mr Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill.

It was also Sir Winston Churchill’s birthday on Monday 30th of November so we took a trip to the cabinet war rooms hidden beneath the ground near 10 Downing Street.

Churchill is known as a great wartime leader, but less is known is the writing he did throughout his life.
Having been to the Inquiry, and thinking what could and should come out of it I pondered
Churchill: “Words are the only thing that last forever.”

In a world of deeply woven webs, with many powerful and self-interested parties, one can’t help but think that often words mean nothing at all.

Recession P.O.A, applicants need apply!

First published at

The economy is in meltdown.

Investment bankers the world over have been gambling on the future. And have lost. But nobody realized it was going to happen. Apparently.

The media, the bankers and even the PM have been in the spotlight of the Treasury Select Committee over the past weeks. All ultimately maintaining defiance as to blame lying at their respective doors for their participation, or lack of it, in the national crisis we’re now facing.

Savers have been cheated, consumerism has collapsed, and internationally currencies are retracting accordingly. The bubble has burst.

Globally, a lot has been staked on a system that has so royally faltered. So it’s clear to see why some politicians are having trouble comprehending the situation, and what we should actually be doing about it.

The British Government is planning to pump more money, £2.5bn, into the banks. The failing businesses whose employees have, arguably, committed financial atrocities, not incomparable with crimes on tax payers, often knowingly, around the world.

They intend upon “getting the banks lending again” to give people more credit to get them spending, so people can get mortgages to buy properties.

All sound a bit too familiar?

They are trying to re-prop up this failing system, because it is the only system they know. It is like proving to them that God doesn’t exist.

And their interests are wholly tied up in its survival. Andy Hornby’s obvious distress in front of the Treasury Select Committee was harrowing, he had invested all of his money in his bank, HBOS, believed in the dream to the bitter end.Proven a fool. But what should the government really be doing with the money?

Ideally, they would honour savers their money where possible. And the banks that survive survive.

But what money we have needs to be used to fund education and research. Yes, fund it. It will depend upon investment, but we haven’t left ourselves many options. We will fund research into climate change, new technologies and develop medicines: invest in the future.

We have intelligent, educated graduates who will be clambering against joining looming dole queues and young people with uncertain futures and confusing teaching.

Right now, we have no product, nothing to offer in the global economy, and no jobs for the people.

Those people that are being left jobless in the manual professions could begin Pan-European public works projects to improve infrastructure. We could become a cosmopolitan masterpiece.

Should Gordon Brown be publicly flogged? Or is he being punished enough in that it seems like he actually had no grasp of the possibility that this would happen, “end to boom and burst” talk comes to mind here?

Should the bankers have to pay their bonuses back? Are people being rewarded for failure? Probably and probably.

But is divvying up what’s left somehow going to earn us the key to our future? At the end of it all, no. Decide, be fair, but ultimately move on.

Do I think Gordon Brown is up to task? Absolutely not. And Prime Minister’s Question Time still watches like an insight into the Chequers Club… whenever posh men go to clubs.

We are in a very complicated mess. We need someone to fix this, but not with the centre-right, tit-for-tat politics that has got us where we are today. We need new ideas.

So candidates need apply!

Tony Blair must be laughing it up having been the most popular bloke in the country, earning more than his keep in the process and is probably sunning himself on a desert island somewhere right now… If his part in all this isn’t playing much on his conscience.