Here is Lord Goldsmith's closing point to the inquiry today:
Whether or not the military intervention was a matter of policy was right or wrong, I don't think it's for me to judge. But, so far as the legality is concerned, I did reach the view then, and still am of the opinion that it was lawful. I stand by that advice. And I have tried to explain today that it was an opinion that I reached independently, having considered all the arguments and the evidence, and that it was my genuine view. That is the basis on which I have given legal advice, as a professional lawyer, for over 35 years.
And here is The Guardian's Andrew Sparrow, liveblogging that statement:
That's significant. He is not prepared to say that he thought the war was a good thing. It was legal, he says. But whether it was wise is a matter for others to judge. That's not much of an endorsement. As far as I'm aware, there is nothing to stop government law officers saying that they agree with government policy. Goldsmith, right at the end of today's hearing, pointedly chose not to do so.
Did you notice the laser-like speed and precision with which Sparrow locks on to... the most insignificant part of the statement?
That Goldsmith doesn't offer an opinion on whether the war was a good thing is doubly insignificant. Once, because, as Sparrow dimly recognises, it's not his business to comment on that matter, and to do so would cloud his previous evidence. Twice, because his personal opinion on that question makes no difference at all to the question at hand today which - I thought - was the legality of the war. Hence the brisk and clearly "unpointed" manner with which Goldsmith disposes of the question.
The only part Sparrow gets right is the first two words: "that's significant". It's just that they should be referring to Goldsmith's main point: nobody bullied him into endorsing the legality of the war. Hard to accept, isn't it, when we've been assured for several years by virtually every newspaper that this is so (based on nothing much)?
Amidst the endless legal back-and-forth today, that stands as the most significant point to emerge. But because it doesn't fit into the tightly constructed narrative that most of the media decided upon years ago and have been tenderly watering ever since, Sparrow barely registers it.
My head hurts.