There's something very familiar about all this.
It was a long time before anyone spoke.
Out of the corner of his eye Greg Dyke could see the sea of tense expectant faces down in the square outside.
"We're going to get lynched aren't we?" he whispered.
"It was a tough assignment," said Lord Hutton mildly.
"It's the BBC's fault?!" yelled Dyke. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"
"I checked it very thoroughly," said the Peer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."
"But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Why We Went To War!" howled Dyke.
"Yes," said Lord Hutton with the air of one who suffers fools gladly, "but what actually is it?"
A slow stupefied silence crept over the population as they stared at the TV screens and then at each other.
"Well, you know, it's just... Why?... Why?" offered Davies weakly.
"Exactly!" said Lord Hutton. "So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."
"Oh terrific," muttered Davies flinging aside his career and wiping away a tiny tear.
"Look, alright, alright," said Dyke, "can you just please tell us the Question?"
"The Ultimate Question?"
"Of Why We Went To War In Iraq?
Lord Hutton pondered this for a moment.
"Tricky," he said.
"But can you do it?" cried Dyke.
Hutton pondered this for another long moment.
Finally: "No," he said firmly.
Both men collapsed on to their chairs in despair.
"But I'll tell you who can," said Hutton.
They both looked up sharply.
"Who?" "Tell us!"
Suddenly the British population began to feel their apparently non-existent scalps begin to crawl as they found themselves moving slowly but inexorably forward towards the screen, but it was only a dramatic zoom on the part of the BBC cameraman.
"I speak of none other than the leader of Britain that is to come after Blair," intoned Lord Hutton, his voice regaining its accustomed declamatory tones. "A politician whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate - and yet I will put him in power for you. A politician who can give you the Question to the Ultimate Answer, a politician of such infinite and subtle wealth that the Corporate I itself shall form part of his operational matrix. And you yourselves shall take on new slave roles and bow down unto the Leader to navigate its ten-million-year deficit repayment scheme! Yes! I shall 'elect' this computer for you. And I shall name it also unto you. And it shall be called... George W Bush."