Mr Evans of MI5 is, with respect, missing the point. We don't blame MI5 for failing to prevent the 7/7 bombings in London. No sane person believes that every terrorist action can be prevented. Sane people hold criminals responsible for their crimes, not those doing their best to prevent them.
However we are furious about the lies told at the time. We were told the 7/7 terrorists were unknown to the authorities; that they were - in the jargon - "clean skins." The trial which concluded yesterday revealed that to be untrue.
Britain's public servants work for the people, not the Government. They are accountable to the Crown, not to Ministers. If the head of MI5 or MI6, or a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police stands by as a lie is told and neither speaks out nor resigns, then the lie is his too and we are entitled to hold him accountable. We always knew that the nature of politics attracts inadequates, fantasists and charlatans. We had thought, however, that the top echelons of our Civil Service were populated with independent-minded examples of the best and the brightest our nation could offer. Blair has shattered that illusion too. He has tamed them and turned them into accomplices and toadies.
How many disasters of the Blair years could have been avoided if public servants had refused to be party to Government lies; if they had refused to allow their advice to be misrepresented to the public by politicians; if their loyalties could not be purchased so cheaply with baubles and trinkets?