As Labour continues to try to hide the truth about Iraq (see my blog of June 16), in that unhappy country itself, the bombs go on exploding. The death toll from the latest – a huge truck bomb in Kirkuk – has now risen to at least 72. It went off as worshippers were leaving a Shia mosque, and there is speculation that it could be the work of al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile it’s been revealed that Tony Blair has been lobbying Gordon Brown to keep the Iraq inquiry secret. Apparently, he wasn’t very keen on being questioned in public and under oath about the decision to bomb, invade and occupy. I’ll bet he wasn’t. Not sure how much persuading was required, though. Do you think Mr Brown himself, not to mention Messrs Straw and Hoon would have been queuing up to tell us all?
On this day….148 years ago, what was then London’s worst fire since the Great Fire of 1666 broke out in the great line of warehouses that stretched between Tooley Street and the south bank of the Thames. The buildings were packed with inflammable goods – cotton, sugar, oil, tallow – and once they had got going, the flames spread mercilessly. The river itself caught fire as burning rum floated on its surface.
The Tooley Street inferno claimed the life of London’s first ever fire chief, James Braidwood – killed when a wall collapsed on him. The flames raged out of control for two days, and it was a whole month before they were put out completely. For more details, see The Disastrous History of London.