Saturday, 15 October 2011

Liam Fox

Apologies to the non-Brits following this blog, unless they're interested in UK politics. This is a posting about the hot news in the UK political scene, the resignation of the Secretary of State for Defence, Liam Fox. He was a big figure in the government not only because Defence is a big job, but also because he was effectively the leader of the right-wing Conservatives.

An old and close friend of his, Adam Werrity, had accompanied him on a whole lot of official visits and also unofficial visits where he met important people abroad. This guy had no position in the government or the Conservative Party and had not been security-checked, but he descibed himself on headed notepaper as an adviser to Fox. He'd collected a lot of money for Fox's political campaigns and favourite pressure-groups and a reasonable guess was that he was looking for favours back. Not surprising that Liam Fox resigned. He's being replaced by a less controversial figure, Phil Hammond, who despite being a Conservative and a businessman, took great care when new in office as Transport minister to be even-handed about a high-profile, big-impact strike at British Airways, saying in effect that both sides needed to get down at a table and talk and give ground.

Now here's my particular comment. What about the Ministry of Defence civil servants and the secret intelligence people? Did none of them say, "Who is this guy? He's picking up sensitive information, even if he's not in on the closed session meetings, and he might be a security risk. Secretary of State, this can't go on!"? Are they so complacent or so cowed that they didn't sound a warning in a year and a half? If so, something is badly wrong. Or did they sound a warning and it was ignored, which would be much more serious not only for Fox but for Cameron?

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