Thank heavens for the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books. They are islands of civilization in a sea of instant opinion and soundbites. In the current issue of NYRB there is a review of Richard Perle's phantasies about the Middle East by Thomas Powers, another by Frederick Crews about the nonsense of repressed memories of sexual abuse, and one by Richard Horton about the dangers of the privatisation of science. And, of course, much, much more.
The LRB has a long, long article by Neal Ascherson about Georgia - and if you think Georgia is a long way away and of little consequence think again, if you worry about nuclear material falling into the wrong hands look no further. Off-line there is Adam Philips on Dylan Thomas, Jenny Diski on Erving Goffman, and an intriguing piece by Bernard Porter on attitudes to cannabis in the Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century.
The LRB and NYRB are treasures that need our support, so by all means read what you can on-line for free, but subscribe or buy them too, we'd be poorer without them.
I mentioned in passing Amazon's "search inside the book facility" in an earlier entry. At the time I was so caught up in what I was thinking about that I failed to register how significant Amazon's innovation is. I remember some years ago the way that Altavista's full text search capabilities transformed the usefulness of the Web. Amazon's initiative promises to be still more significant in terms of making visible Gregory Bateson's "patterns that connect" in published books. This is big stuff.
What is disturbing is the obstacles that are going to be put in the way of the full promise of this technology being realised, because of a dog in the manager attitude to intellectual property. Amazon's solution of showing pictures of pages seems like a sensible compromise, but there are still people advocating stopping them doing it on the grounds of infringement of copyright. This seems dumb on several grounds, not least that copies of books might bought that otherwise the buyer might not have known existed.
There is a good account of the technology and its significance in a piece Gary Wolf wrote in Wired and an example of copyright stupidity here. But if you haven't done so already go to Amazon.com yourself and try it out - it is amazing.
I love the phrase, "the adjacent possible". It captures in a very vivid way my sense that we are surrounded by more possibilities and opportunities than we can see - the theme of "Purposive Drift". Hence my excitement when I first saw the term. It seems to say something I have been trying to say for along time in a very compressed, succinct way. That's what the "drift" in "Purposive Drift" is about, trying to finding ways to counter our blindness to the richness of the world and to create the circumstances where one can become aware of the adjacent possibilities that too strong a focus on goals or plans could make you miss.
I found the phrase on Edge, where I haven't been for a while. When I did last week there it was, "The Adjacent Possible - a talk with Stuart Kauffman". My excitement was somewhat tempered by the fact that I couldn't pull out much of what he meant from the talk nor with my search of the web following it. This was not dissimilar to my experience of reading his "At Home in the Universe" where I felt he was saying something very important, but found it difficult, if not impossible, to follow his argument in detail. This is due to my inadequacies not his. But, never mind, I shall shamelessly appropriate the phrase and use it in a way that makes sense to me.
What added to my sense of glee was the interesting stuff I came across trying to track down what others meant by the adjacent possible. (Among other things, in an indirect way, that's where I alighted upon Geoffrey Vickers, my current, growing obsession - all the snippets I have managed to pick up reinforce my sense that he has some really important stuff to say.) Among the new stuff I found there was an interview with Michael Lissack, who is someone else who seems to have a good take on the world. As this extract from the interview shows his use of "the adjacent possible" is close to how I think about it.
A: You need to be able to recognise your adjacent possibilities. A lot of people can't. They are at A, they want to go to X. And X is maybe twenty steps away. And they can?t visualise what the next step is that gets them towards X. They can work their way backwards to like N. But they have no idea how to get from A to N. They do know if they can get to N, they can get to X. But they need to know what B and C are. I find that a lot of people at a lot of companies are so focused on being able to articulate X, and then they hire consultants who work them backwards to N, that they never figure out B and C."
Thanks to Amazon's amazing "Search inside this book" I confirmed my earlier sense that Sir Geoffrey Vickers thinking was worth pursuing. Amazon now enables you to search the entire text of a number of books and view the pages where your search term occurs. Entering "Vickers? in their entry to Peter Checkland's "Systems Thinking, Systems Practice" pulled up a lot of references. There on page 262 there was a passage from "Freedom in a Rocking Boat" and a comment from Checkland, which suggested that Vickers had resolved some of the ideas I am still struggling with in "Purposive Drift".
The passage from Vickers begins "The meaning of stability is likely to remain obscured in Western cultures until they rediscover the fact that life consists of experiencing relationships, rather than seeking goals or 'ends'." Checkland comments that, ?Vickers suggests replacing the goal-seeking and goal-seeking-with-feedback (cybernetic) models by one in which personal, institutional or cultural activity consists in maintaining desired relationships and eluding undesired ones."
So now I am faced with the quest of tracking down Vicker's writings most of which seem to be out-of-print. But as a taster I did find one paper on line, where he was writing about what Health Services were for, that says to me that here is a mind that still has much to contribute to our thinking today.
Sir Geoffrey Vickers is a figure that I have known about for years, but the extent of my knowledge was that he was seen as an important figure in systems thinking and had written a book called "Freedom in a Rocking Boat". I had tried getting hold of that book a number of times, but without success. By one of those curious roundabout routes I stumbled across an Open University site that had a video and transcript of a short talk he gave in 1978. The snippets there have whetted my appetite to find out more about his thinking, because he strikes me as being one of those nearly lost thinkers who has much to say to us today.
What I find slightly mysterious is that there seems to be a cluster of people working, thinking and writing in the immediate post-war period, whose work is largely out of print and whose thinking is mainly represented by a few a few strong quotes, but little else. Why, I wonder have they almost disappeared when what they had to say is, perhaps, even more pertinent today than it was when they were more well known? I suspect that a little intellectual archaeology would yield results that would seem startlingly modern. Meanwhile here is a snippet from Geoffrey Vickers harvested from the web:
I had started writing something about the wider context of the Hutton report, when I just felt weary. The thought of ploughing through all the junk that led up to the invasion of Iraq again suddenly seemed as attractive as wading through a sewer. Fortunately I found three links which I think says anything I wanted to say much better than I could manage plus a whole lot more. The first is an article in Mother Jones that details the lead up to the invasion. The second is a piece in the London Review of Books by Conor Gearty that neatly sums up the report itself. The third is a blog by a young Iraqi woman, Riverbend, that I have been following for some time. This, as well providing some wider insights into what is happening in Iraq, gives a vivid account of the daily life of a Baghdad family as the war the continues - a definite must read.
But one snippet from my original intention remained. In the months before the invasion I found a piece in the New Yorker, which contained one paragraph that I felt caught the mood of the whole thing:
"In September (2001, my addition), Bush rejected Paul Wolfowitz's recommendation of immediate moves against Iraq. That the President seems to have changed his mind is an indication, in part, of the bureaucratic skill of the Administration's conservatives. "These guys are relentless," one former official, who is close to the high command at the State Department, told me. "Resistance is futile."
As I found myself resisting what I had thought I wanted write, I realised that the "relentless guys" phenomenon had a much wider relevance. The sense that "Resistance is futile" is something that many people in many organisations, both public and private, have felt as some bright new idea tramples its way through the system. Sometimes the idea is simply a utopian phantasy, more often the idea contains a kernel of good sense, but in either case any reservations or qualifications about its implementation are brushed aside. Its proponents know it is the right thing to do. People with more knowledge and experience on the ground or those who hold more nuanced views are dismissed as being old fashioned or feeble.
So how does this phenomenon work? At the beginning there is almost always some bright people who develop a nice, simple clear idea that seems to offer certainty. This gets picked up by a bunch of careerists and other special interests, who can see personal benefit from what is proposed. Then you need a crisis of some kind. The response to that crisis produces the momentum that enables the idea to be pushed through. The key to whole thing is the lack of doubt in its advocates, the rewards in terms of career or status that they accrue, their ability to brush aside any evidence that runs counter to their project and most importantly their ability to move upwards out of the organisation before the debris from their enterprise becomes too apparent.
Sounds familiar to you?
Simon Caulkin's management column in the Observer is usually worth a read. This week he is talking about a new book by John Seddon, "Freedom from Command and Control" - I talked about some of Seddon's work in an earlier post, "Failure demand".
In his assault on the command and control style of management Seddon is particularly scornful of what top management chooses to measure as a means of control. As Caulkin says, "Instead of being controlled by measures, people need measures and methods that allow them to control and improve the work. In this way people, and only people, can absorb variety. And the results can be spectacular: capacity rises as waste is removed. Cost falls. Better service is cheaper; not dearer."
Seddon suggests that:
? Does it help in understanding and improving performance?
? Does it relate to its purpose, as established by the customer?
? Is it integrated with work (that is, in the hands of those who do it)?"
He goes on to argue that most managerial targets, standards, service levels, activity measures and budgets failure to meet these criteria. Certainly I have seen some excellent organisation have all the quality, in the commonly accepted, as opposed to managerial, use of the term, sucked out them by the imposition by senior management of "quality" standards and processes.
I have been playing around with some ideas for a book for a while. It's based on the concept that we can understand much of what is happening in our changing world in terms of the effects of what I am calling three "action ideas" that gained momentum in the Sixties. The thesis is that these "action ideas" are still working their way through the system and contributing to "the death of routine" and the sense of unease that many people feel now. I should point out that what I am talking about here is the erosion of the shared routines that characterised much of the early post-war period, not the individual "got up, had a cup of coffee,.." routines that make up much of our lives. Anyway what follows is a draft of the Introduction. I would be interested know what you think.
The Death of Routine: Living in a World of Surprises
These are exciting times. Unsettling times. Disturbing times. A point in our history where it seems hard to understand what is going on. We have moved in to a world of surprises where some times the old rules seem to work and some times they don't. What does seem clear is that the world of shared routines that many of us grew up in and we teach our children still exists has gone to be replaced by a world where, for much of the time, we have to make things up as we go along.
This book is an attempt to map out some of the emerging spaces for action - the places we can make our lives - that are developing in this new world of surprises. There will, of course, be spaces I miss and some of the spaces I do discuss may simply fade away or remain a minority occupation. What I do hope I can provide is a conceptual framework that helps makes some sense of what is going on. A framework that you can use to navigate your way through the exciting possibilities that seem to be opening up and avoid some of the perils that accompany them.
So what's changed? Why do we need to develop new ways of thinking about our world?
Some of the symptoms are obvious. From all sides we have been bombarded by messages that we have to modernise, change, become more entrepreneurial, more innovative, brand ourselves, become more flexible, more agile, learn new skills and all to accommodate the inexorable demands of an unforgiving marketplace, globalisation and the digital revolution.
And we have translated these messages to mean that we have to work harder, work faster, work longer and that even then we may lose our jobs, livelihood or secure retirement. In short, many of us have a sense of unease about how our society now seems to work and do not believe that it has to be this way.
The unease turns to anxiety when we look around and there appears to be no alternative on offer. The reality, in Stewart Brand's chilling words, seems to be, "If you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road".
The question is what is the steamroller? Well one answer is the inexorable demands of an unforgiving marketplace, globalisation and the digital revolution. But how far does that get us?
As John Brunner, that visionary writer, who has mysteriously disappeared from the science fiction shelves, once wrote: "It is one thing to talk glibly about the determinism of history but quite another thing altogether to find oneself caught up in historical forces like dead leaf on the gale." For many of us the image of the dead leaf being blown hither and thither by social, cultural, political, technological and economic forces we don't understand and barely recognise, may have a powerful resonance.
But Brunner has also given us another, more optimistic image: the Shockwave Rider, surfing the waves of change, exhilarated by the ride. It is this image, I hope, that will have a still greater resonance. For it is the very turmoil we see around us, that is the grounds for my optimism. Amidst the destruction and disruption of the patterns of our daily lives, new possibilities are being created, if only we can sense them. A new landscape of human being is waiting for us to nudge into existence, if we so choose.
But first we have to go back and look at the world we have lost - the world of routines, a world that Jock Young, the criminologist, calls the inclusive society and Eric Hobsbawm, the historian, called the Golden Age. Jock Young describes this period in the following terms:
"The Golden Age of post-war Europe and North America was a world of full employment and steadily rising affluence, it witnessed the gradual incorporation of the working class into, at least the trappings, of full citizenship, the entry of women more fully into public life and the labour market, the attempt in the United States to create political equality for African Americans. It was an era of inclusion, of affluence and of conformity."
He goes on to detail the characteristics of this time:
"...mass standardized production, near total male employment, a considerable manufacturing sector, massive hierarchical bureaucracies, a sizeable primary labour market of secure jobs and standardized career prospects, clearly demarcated jobs, corporatist government policies and mass consumption of fairly uniform products. The world of work is paralleled by the sphere of leisure and the family; underwritten by the division of labour between the sexes; the family becomes the site of consumption, the celebration of an affluent lifestyle, the essential demand side of Keynsianism, and presents an ever-expanding array of standardized consumer goods by which to measure individual success and to mark out the steady economic progress of an expanding economy."
This was a time, for those living in this world of routines, when people could feel secure about the future. As Richard Sennett describes, writing about a janitor, Enrico, he had interviewed some years before:
"What had struck me about Enrico and his generation was how linear time was in their lives: year after year of working in jobs which seldom varied from day to day. And along that line of time, achievement was cumulative: Enrico and Flavia checked the increase in their savings every week, measured their domesticity by the various improvements and additions they had made to their ranch house. Finally, the time they lived was predictable. The upheavals of the Great Depression and World War II had faded, unions protected their jobs; although he was only forty when I first met him, Enrico knew precisely when he would retire and how much money he would have."
It was this element of predictability that permeated every aspect of life. People like Enrico would not only be able to predict what their pension would be, but what they would have to eat on any day, when the weekly washing would be done, when the shops would be open and when they would be closed, the times they would eat or take a break, what they would watch on TV or listen to on the radio, what times they would go to work and what time they would finish, even when they would have sex - a time, in fact, of few decisions, because most decisions were pre-determined by sets of collective routines.
The challenge that faces many of us now of making a life in conditions of uncertainty did not really exist in that Golden Age, except perhaps on the Bohemian fringe. Then it was more a question of fitting in to existing slots. In many cases the choice was virtually pre-determined. If you came from a family of doctors, you would probably become a doctor. If you came from a family of miners, you would become a miner. If you were a woman, you would become a housewife. Of course it was more complicated than that in practice, but that was the prevailing idea.
Fitting in to a slot meant more than just taking up a particular occupation, it also meant adopting a particular way of life, which in most cases was a similar to those of your parents. Now like most generalisations of this kind this does violence to the diversity of real lived life. Often digging below the surface you would find that people were more quirky and more complex than their apparent conformity to social conventions would suggest. Nevertheless, the surface appearance was important and many people, particularly the young, found the ways they were expected to live stifling and constrained.
Now it is quite likely that there are still people living very similar lives to Enrico and Flavia. It is still more likely that there are many more who would like the opportunity to enjoy lives with a similar sense of security. What is questionable is how many people, particularly the young, would wish to return to a life so dominated by shared routines.
There are many reasons why the world of the Golden Age began to be eroded in the mid Seventies, including the possibility that such a model of society was simply not economically sustainable. But an important component in its breakdown was the cultural revolution that ran between some point in the mid-Sixties to somewhere half way through the Seventies. Much of the impetus for that movement was a sense among those born after World War II that the comforts of a society that had been welcomed by their parents who had lived through the upheavals of depressions and war had become so ordered and conformist it left them no room to breath.
A minority, but an important and influential minority of this generation, the Baby Boomers, became receptive to ideas that challenged the consensus of the time. This people among this minority sometimes characterised themselves as the Alternative Society or the underground. As Germaine Greer wrote in OZ magazine in 1969, "The political character of the underground is still amorphous, because it is principally a clamour for freedom to move, to test alternative forms of existence to find if they were practicable, and if they were more gratifying, more creative, more positive, than mere endurance under the system".
Germaine Greer characterised the politics of the underground as being amorphous. That word is important because the rethinking that was going on was more complex and diverse than it is now often remember. What is often forgotten is the ideas that underpinned Thatcher and Regan's revolution were just as much a product of the Sixties as those ideas that seem to oppose them.
What I will be arguing throughout this book is that much of what is happening to us now, how we got here and how things will develop over the next two or three decades can be understood in terms of three powerful "action ideas" that achieved momentum in that period of radical rethinking. I call them "action ideas" because they are ideas that people put into practice, not simply something they think about. The three "action ideas" are:
Self-Created Identity - the idea that individuals and groups can grasp the freedom to define and to create their own identity and way of life.
Market Romance - the idea that markets are the most effective way to organise human affairs, leading to widespread liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation
Digital Everything - the idea that any activity or process can be described in terms of binary numbers and simulated in a computer system.
When we look around and see what has changed from that world of shared routines to the more complex world we seem to be now creating we can usually find at least one of these action ideas at work. I am not saying that these ideas are the sole cause of what we see going on, the world is a more complex place than that, but what I am saying is that pragmatically they provide a useful tool for understanding and taking appropriate action to deal with the changing human landscape.
Thinking about these kinds of changes I find it useful to look at all human ways of being and organising ourselves as experiments. Some them are long-lived and last for generations. Others turn out to have no staying power and are soon forgotten. In the following chapters I will be looking at a range of different kinds of experiments that are going on now and how the action ideas I have identified relate to them. Some of them are huge global experiments like the enormous over capacity we have created for generating goods and services for current markets or the vast, complex web for moving almost unimaginable quantities of cash around the globe in nanoseconds in the search for financial profits.
Others experiments are less developed but may prove significant to our future like the new kinds of multi-national corporations that are emerging in places like Mexico or Taiwan, the transformation of some of our most traditional industries into knowledge driven hi-tech enterprises or the slow discovery of enormous new markets that may radically shift how we thing about business.
But, perhaps the experiments that have the most immediate impact on our everyday lives are those that happen at an individual level. It is here that I see the greatest amount of rethinking and much of this centres on the issue of livelihood. For more and more of us how we make a living is becoming a major concern. For some it is a simple question of how to continue provide an income to maintain an existing way of life? For others it is a wider, more interesting question; how to make a more fulfilling life?
The phrase "making a living" generally means making enough money to support a certain style of life. But, if you reframe it to mean a means of creating the material conditions to support a form of life it becomes a much wider, more complex concept involving more than a source of cash income.
For most people on our planet the questions of how to make a more fulfilling life and how to create the material conditions to support it are, in practical terms, meaningless. The issue is how to get by from day to day. A condition, which James Scott, the anthropologist, describes in a vivid metaphor as being like "constantly standing (with one's family!) up to one's chin in water, which can, at any moment, move up."
But even in the slums of Nairobi or the barrios of Rio de Janeiro or the remote village of the Indian sub-continent there are individuals who manage to transcend the contingencies of every day life to imagine something different and improvise their way into new spaces that offer more possibilities for action and fulfilment.
For the more affluent, like most readers of this book the dilemmas may seem different. Getting by may mean the difference between replacing your car this year or next. But equally here too there are growing numbers of people who question what seems to be on offer. As Shoshana Zuboff puts it, "For millions of people today, life is no longer foretold, but rather is an open canvas waiting to be painted by individual choice." She later goes on to say, "No longer born to a biography, their identities must be invented as they go - cobbled together from personal initiative and private judgement.
What I want to do in the rest of this book is to explore some of the spaces that are being created by the death of routine and some of the elements from which we can cobble together the material conditions to make a more fulfilling life within them. It is as Zuboff says an open canvas, but it is also important to remember that it is not a blank canvas. As Theodore Zeldin has argued, "Nothing influences our ability to cope with the difficulty of existence so much as the context in which we view them; the more contexts we can choose between, the less do the difficulties appear to be inevitable and insurmountable. The fact that the world has become fuller than ever of complexity of every kind may suggest at first that it is harder to find a way out of our dilemmas, but in reality the more complexities, the more crevices there through which we can crawl."
This book is, if you like, a search for those some of those crevices and I hope provides some tools and ideas that will help you find your own. But before we go there, we must first look more closely at the three action ideas that I maintain will help us understand more of what is going on and which shape the open canvas on which we can improvise our lives. It is to those action ideas of Self Created Identity, Market Romance and Digital Everything the next chapter will turn.
Well, it looks as if Michael Wolff was right all along, the Dean campaign did carry the seeds of its own destruction. A short entry on John Naughton's blog, led me to a long thoughtful piece by Clay Shirky analysing the failure of the campaign and why so many people got it wrong. It's a good read, but I'm not sure that it adds that much to what Michael Wolff said some months ago.
The danger in all this is that just as the significance of Dean's campaign became over inflated, it may now be too easily dismissed. My sense is that its real significance was its role in changing the agenda, rather than its role in garnering support for one candidate. I suspect that as time goes on we will see an increasingly sophisticated adoption of the methods Dean's people used not only to change agendas but to create and define them.
Rifling through some books on my shelves I came across a quote from Brecht's "Life of Galileo", which looked like a good aphorism for today:
"Truth is the child of time, not authority. Our ignorance is infinite, lets whittle away just one cubic millimetre. Why should we want to be so clever when at long last we have a chance of being a little less stupid."
I have been meaning to say something about Jane Jacobs for some time. She has long been a big influence on my thinking. Reading through some of my recent entries, I realised that I didn't mention her by name when I quoted her remarks on "an esthetics of drift" in "Echoes of Purposive Drift" - an important omission since this is the origin of the "Drift" in "Purposive Drift".
Doing a bit of research this morning I found a long interview with her on the World Bank site. Lots of provocative stuff and some obvious links with "Creativity, the economy and politics". The interview is well worth a careful read. (Warning, it?s a big PDF file) Here is a taster:
"...is also destructive to try to make all the cities of a nation alike by putting them into a comprehensive development framework. This ignores the particularity of cities. The minute you begin to prescribe for cities? infrastructure or programs comprehensively, you try to make one size fit all. Actually, different cities, if they're working properly, are not behaving the same way at the same time. Some may be doing well on exporting but aren't replacing imports much. Others are doing just the opposite. Some, at a given time, may be receiving many immigrants. Others are not. If they're behaving properly, each has its own kinds of work emerging. Creative cities have even more individuality than nations. Cities are much older economic entities than nations. "
Brian Hutton has done us a great service. His decision that the bulk of the evidence presented to him should be place on the web is a very important precedent, which will be difficult for future inquiries to ignore. This makes it particularly sad that his name is likely to pass in to the language as a joke.
To call the Hutton Report a "whitewash" is unfair. I am sure that he did as honest and as scrupulous job as he was capable of doing. However, like Dr Kelly, he found himself in a situation, which he did not understand. Just as Dr Kelly, an expert his field, can be seen as naive in talking to Andrew Gilligan in the way that he did, Brian Hutton was naive to accept a job that lay outside his field of competence. Like Dr Kelly he appears to be an intensely private man, driven by a deep sense of public duty, and like Dr Kelly may find his public belittling difficult to cope with.
Dr Kelly, a supporter of the war on Iraq, was scrupulous about scientific fact and it seems likely that it was this that led him to making intemperate remarks to Gilligan, who with less scruples rushed in to grabbing a scoop without doing the necessary work to support it.
Brian Hutton seems to have found himself as much at sea as Dr Kelly when he found himself trying understand a world where as Dr Kelly told Susan Watts "We've seen on the mobile labs the POLITICS of that is so STRONG that it deflects all practical objectivity." This appeared to lead him to assume that the most senior people in the intelligence services would have the expertise to be able legitimately to over-rule the doubts and reservations of more junior, but more expert, people in the service. Nor did he appear to understand the actions and motives of a man like Campbell, who seemed to think couple of apologies was sufficient to excuse the publication of a report on the Number 10 website that not only contained plagiarised material, but where that material was "sexed-up" to make it look stronger.
A more worldly head of inquiry might have been able to draw more satisfactory lessons to learned for the conduct of both government and media from this affair. Unfortunately Brian Hutton is not such a person.
A careful reading of his report will reveal a number of instances that support these conclusions, but the most telling, that made me laugh out loud when I read it, comes very late in the report:
462. In a conversation with journalists about the start of August 2003 Mr Tom Kelly made a remark to the effect that Dr Kelly was a "Walter Mitty" character. On 5 August Mr Kelly issued a press statement in which he apologised unreservedly to Mrs Kelly and her daughters for this remark. In the course of his evidence to the Inquiry Mr Kelly twice repeated his apology. On 20 August he said:
[20 August, page 204, line 18]
? as I said on the day after this article appeared, I unreservedly apologise to the Kelly family that words of mine intrude into their grief at that time. Whatever my motives, it was a mistake that led to that intrusion and I have to take responsibility for that mistake.
On 23 September he said:
[23 September, page 35, line 3]
? I fully accept that I should not have used what was a too colourful phrase. I fully accept that in doing so I ran the risk of misunderstanding; and I fully accept that that must have caused the family much distress. It was not what I intended and that is why I gave my unreserved apology at the time, why I repeated it when I appeared at this Inquiry the first time and why I repeat it again today.
463. The remark was a wholly improper one for Mr Kelly to make and he has apologised for it unreservedly. However I consider that it casts no light on the issue whether there was an underhand strategy on the part of the Government to leak Dr Kelly's name covertly." (My italics)
Dr Kelly made one error of judgement and found himself thrust in to a conflict not of his choosing to become on the one hand a "scoop" and on the other an instrument "to fuck Gilligan". Brian Hutton, likewise, was lured into a dispute, where neither his brief nor his experience enabled him to distinguish what was significant about what was going on.
Let us hope that in time Dr Kelly will be remembered more as a man who helped make a safer world and Brian Hutton will be remembered as a man who helped open a window on the decision making processes of government that became an important precedent. Sadly, the more likely outcome is that Dr Kelly will be remembered as a man who killed himself in the woods and Brian Hutton as a man who didn't get it.