If the minutes of Cabinet meetings held prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 were to be made public, then the British Isles would undoubtedly crumble into dust in an instant, warned the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw.
The Information Tribunal ruled last month that the details of ministerial discussions should be published, with what it called "exceptional" public interest outweighing any concerns the government may have about confidentiality. The ruling upheld a previous call from the Information Commissioner to publish the minutes under the Freedom of Information Act.
However, Mr Straw said that doing so would risk "serious damage to Cabinet government", which he called "an essential principle of British democracy", and announced that, for the first time, the government was using the ministerial veto.
When asked by reporters whether he was not, in effect, claiming that cover-ups and unaccountability were in some way to be regarded as the core values of open, democratic governance, Mr Straw theatrically looked at his watch and dived head-first down a rabbit-hole.
Unfortunately, the minister's great big stupid head became firmly wedged in the hole, preventing his escape. Political hacks were quick to remove his shoes and socks, and after tickling his feet for several minutes they elicited a muffled admission from Mr Straw that what he really meant was that if the minutes should ever be released, the public might jump to the erroneous conclusion - based on the over-simplistic method of reading the words - that Tony Blair simply told a servile bunch of toadying creeps that he was going to cover himself in glory in a quick, easy war, and they fell over themselves in the rush to kiss his arse.