Chilcot: how not to write a report

I had no great hopes of the Chilcot enquiry; I’ve only read the ‘Executive Summary’, 150 pages of disconnected sentences, and have no plans to read more.  When the Francis report (on hospitals) came out, I complained about excessive word length, the repetitions, and the failure to understand what an executive summary was.  Chilcot has the same vices.  It was immediately obvious that, with 2.6 million words, only specialists and obsessives would read it, that the writers lacked the confidence and competence to select the facts that mattered, and that anyone who wanted to cherry pick and reinterpret material would be able to do that, regardless of evidence to the contrary.   This is the third recent report, after Levison and Francis, that seems to have been produced by a team who don’t understand what a report is and what it has to do.

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