Protesters gathered outside the Chilcot inquiry to demand Tony Blair should be brought to account and the truth about the corrupt and crooked way we were taken to war exposed. However the only grilling he got was from the mother of a soldier killed in the war.

Video by Harry Fear

200 people joined the Stop the War protest yesterday outside the Iraq inquiry. Some came dressed as Blair and Bush and enacted a citizens arrest of Blair right outside the inquiry in front of the world’s cameras.

That was the nearest we got to justice or accountability all day. Despite the hype in the run up to the recall; Blair was unfazed by the proceedings. And no one should have been surprised. This process doesn’t deserve the title ‘inquiry’.

Having flagged up “inconsistencies” between Blair’s previous testimony and that of other witnesses (in other words one of them was lying), Chilcot and his team acted like the purpose of the day was to give Blair a bit more time and space to justify himself.

Their idea of cross examination is to ask a slightly pointed question, listen politely to the answer and then move on.

The inquiry was of course hobbled from the start. Chilcot has no powers to instruct witnesses to appear or to insist on full disclosure of documents. This led to the absurd situation in which he couldn’t quote from letters that he himself had seen between Blair and Bush apparently proving Blair had committed to war whether or not it had UN backing.

Still, what most commentators ignore is that enough evidence has come out to nail Blair for lying his way into the war. The simple and unanswerable case is that Blair told parliament war without a second UN resolution might be legal when the legal advice he had received was that it couldn’t be. It’s also clear that he did indeed make promises to Bush about backing the war whatever it’s legal status. We don’t need to see the incriminating letters to know this; Blair’s chief advisor David Manning has already gone on record confirming it.

So it’s the feeble Chilcot and his panel that have to take the blame for the smile on Blair’s face as he got up to leave.

They are handpicked establishment insiders, not one of whom has ever been heard to criticise Blair’s wars. Their job was to appear concerned while never probing too much.

It was left to Rose Gentle – whose son, Gordon, died in the war – to cut through the day’s evasions, half truths and fake sincerity. She confronted Blair as he left and shouted ‘you killed my son with your lies!’

Chris Nineham is a founding member and national officer of the Stop the War Coalition

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Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.