The Iraq Inquiry plods on. However, Friday 29th January did provide some interest, as Tony Blair presented his view.
As Chilcot made clear, it wasn’t a trial, and no one was to be found guilty. However, there was still intense interest around what Blair would say, particularly given his recent interview with Fern Britton in which he appeared to have admitted that regime change was not linked to WMD.
I had some spare time that day – one of the perks of being freelance – so I decided to tweet the proceedings as much as I could. I just felt that, given I’ve got some 1,100 followers, if at least some of them who were unable to watch TV or listen to the radio could get an idea of at least some of the proceedings, it would be better than none. I’m not especially politically motivated but I find what has happened over Iraq to be fairly outrageous.
Since then I’ve taken a look at the tweets I produced, and created clouds of what each of the participants had to say. You can see them below.
Now, before I get hauled in front of any future inquiries being asked to explain myself, I should add some caveats here:
- I took the decision early on to report what was being said rather than give my interpretation. However, I did need to make some decisions along the way so that they would work in Twitter. For example, during discussions about the Attorney General, I tended to type Goldsmith instead, because it was shorter and more consistent.
- I did occasionally miss some of the questions or responses, simply because the phone rang a few times, or I needed to feed the cat, etc.
- Midway through the day I reached my daily status update limit and was unable to tweet until the afternoon. I missed most of the questioning by Sir Lawrence Freedman and for this reason I have omitted his tweetcloud. It was not even remotely representative of his session.
- I frankly and freely admit that Twitter is not an ideal way to follow the inquiry. The best way is, of course, in person. This is why commentators such as Nick Robinson of the BBC were able to tell us that Blair’s hands were shaking as he poured his water at the beginning of the morning session. Given that only a chosen few could attend in person, the next best is probably the TV broadcast. While this offers analysis, it is restricted in the camera angles offered and audio feed. This is why, for example, we were only vaguely able to hear the mild heckling at the very end of the day’s session, and not see it at all. But while a series of 140-character updates isn’t ideal, it’s better than nothing, and in toto it provides a body of text from which we can get top-level impressions. When the full transcripts are released we’ll be able to draw more meaningful conclusions.
- Given all the above, I’m not going to add any further interpretation to the tweetclouds either. Whatever conclusion you draw is up to you!
So, with that all in mind, here are the rest of the tweetclouds.