There seems to be an undercurrent of sympathy for Liam Fox.
I don’t mind about the short term and incoherent mess that was SDSR and I quite like the fact that he marked the cards of the defence chiefs whilst putting the MoD on the road to financial credibility but any achievements (and these are in no doubt significant) in no way provide some sort of pass for the shabby behaviour that has obviously been going on.
The homosexual innuendo is a smokescreen, no one actually gives two shits about that but what is telling is the complete absence of judgement and even greater absence of integrity and moral authority.
The Secretary of State for Defence is one of the greatest offices of State, the person in the job manages and governs a budget of nearly £40 billion, is responsible for over 200,000 personnel, provides strategic direction for the defence of this nation and let’s not forget the prosecution of two demanding operations plus numerous other deployments.
We are not talking about someone in charge of the paperclip budget for a borough council.
Being an effective minister is completely and utterly irrelevant.
Have we all put standards aside because he was the least worse option?
Just because it is an awkward or inconvenient moment does that mean the complete lack of judgement is swept under the carpet?
Does doing a good job insulate you from the consequences of your actions?
Do we do an Admiral Nelson and turn a blind eye because it’s simply more convenient to do so?
It’s just not good enough to start the conversation with ‘it’s a shame because’
This is a man with an overweening political ambition who has used defence as part of his political game. Quite happy to grandstand on issues as diverse and PFI’s to pen pushers to gain political advantage in opposition, when in a position of power the U turn gear was constantly engaged and we have to ask who has ultimately suffered.
So what of the future?
Let’s not over analyse what type of minister Phil Hammond will be, the fact is defence will continue to get shafted. If he can stand up to the massed ranks of the civil service, service chiefs/defence industry then that is the best we can hope.
Mr Hammond at least has some real world experience and understands his way around a balance sheet, is this necessarily a bad thing.
The future will soon become known.
Good luck as they say.