Be it the Manchester bombing, children’s homes or Daniel Morgan, millions are squandered on probes that merely enrich lawyersThus thunders Simon Jenkins in the 'Guardian', clearly missing the point that often that's their actual purpose.
These inquiries must be the worst value for money in British government. Most were just kicks into touch by some embarrassed minister, producing a day’s headline some years later before gathering dust. The infected blood inquiry, into an NHS mistake half a century ago, is now costing £32m a year. Like this week’s Manchester Arena bombing report, costing millions, it is telling us little or nothing that a bunch of assiduous investigators could not have discovered in a few weeks.
Probably, but then what are we supposed to do, not find out that BTP officers drove five miles for a kebab over a two-hour lunch break, leaving no one on duty in the City Room Foyer on the night in question?
There is soon to be the mother of all inquiries, into the coronavirus pandemic. It will inevitably seek to apportion blame. I sense that the present extreme caution of Whitehall’s politicians and scientists on lockdown is not driven by the public interest. It is driven by a sense of how their reputations will stand up under cross-examination.
That's always what drives them. And anyone who thinks it's anything else is fooling themselves...