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Tom Kelly

TOM KELLY, the Downing Street spokesman who reportedly dismissed the tragic weapons expert, Dr David Kelly, as a ‘Walter Mitty character’, i.e. a fantasist, is no stranger to Ulster Nation readers. Tom Kelly was the chief spindoctor at the NIO under Mo Mowlam's regime.

He was the man responsible for the notorious leaked memo that outlined the plan of campaign to manipulate public opinion to win a referendum for any agreement which might have come out of the multiparty Mitchell talks. The result was the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.

Mr Kelly correctly determined that there would be no problem in selling any agreement to the Catholic nationalist population. The difficulty would arise in convincing the Prods. Tom Kelly’s memorandum was a plan to bounce4 the Prods into voting against their instincts.

The GFA was a confidence trick and all the great and the good in Protestant civic society were wheeled out to bolster support for it. Step forward bought and paid for ‘community representatives’, quango board members, business leaders and housetrained church men, most notably Lord Robin Eames, the Archbishop of Armagh. Critics of the Agreement were smeared as evil bigots who did not want peace. Those of us who pointed out that the GFA did not require PIRA or other paramilitary decommissioning were accused of lying by David Trimble. He claimed, totally against the actual text of the document itself, that paramilitary disarmament was a precondition of restored devolved government.

This was total nonsense. A simple reading of the text of the GFA shows that paramilitary decommissioning was only an aspiration. No party was required to actually decommission a single bomb, gun or bullet prior to the formation of a devolved Executive. This was one of the main reasons why Jeffrey Donaldson walked away from the Mitchell talks just before the GFA was signed.

Still, in the interests of winning the 1998 Referendum on the GFA (which effectively meant conning unionist voters) Trimble was allowed to assert that the GFA required the Provos to give up their guns before Sinn Féin could take seats in the executive. Tony Blair backed up this nonsensical reading of the GFA in order to get a Yes vote in the referendum with a series of misleading letters and hand-written pledges on cards. These of course were totally worthless, as they could not modify the text of the GFA itself, but they did the trick. The GFA got through the referendum by a combination of lies, spin and deceit spearheaded quite brilliantly by Tom Kelly.

After such a successful campaign, it’s no surprise that this one-time BBC journalist should wind up in Downing Street as Tony Blair’s official spokesman. Phoney Tony obviously recognises a kindred spirit!

David Kerr

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