Cats and Cards – Defence as a Political Football

It is obvious that the government needed something to get the Human Right Act and cat’s off the news agenda so what better way than a security and sexuality innuendo.

Liam Fox is under pressure about his relationship with Adam Werritty, business cards, visits to Main Building and any potential security issues.

Of course the Guardian and BBC are all over this like a tramp on chips, as one would expect, but yet again, none of the braying crowd, or indeed, those that leaked the story, give a flying f**k for the needs of defence as a whole.

The story may be true, the story may be complete nonsense but the fact remains, when there is an opportunity to play politics, left or right don’t care if the only casualty is defence.

 

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x
x
October 7, 2011 4:59 pm

Politicians have always attracted nut jobs. Politicians crave attention. TBH I am surprised at Fox I thought he was one of the exceptions.

You can understand why the elites on the Left despise Fox. Brought up on a council estate and having had a real job making real decisions there is much in Fox’s background they don’t understand….

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
October 7, 2011 7:11 pm

“Of course the Guardian and BBC are all over this like a tramp on chips”

. . . and so is the Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8812997/Liam-Fox-on-Adam-Werritty-security-allegations-are-unfounded.html

This isn’t about Dr. Fox’s background it’s about his judgement and, possibly, his honesty.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 7, 2011 7:16 pm

I’d be more interested to know who planted this banana skin… It is party conference time, senior figures need to get their profile right for the next leadership contest (yes, Dave is young, but he won’t be there forever)
– so, from within the party, or from the outside?

x
x
October 7, 2011 8:20 pm

@ Peter A

Yep. But you have to be careful not to read too much into this on. As I said all MPs seem to have a posse of whack job who follow them. Our local MP has a real menagerie, when he can be bothered to be here in the provinces. It is a quick kill for the Labour party probably from a tip off from some Left leaning civil servant at the MoD.

As for his background I know. I forgot which blog I was on………

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
October 8, 2011 2:13 pm

i hope he survives the march 2012 reshuffle, i like what fox is doing.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 8, 2011 2:18 pm

I hope so, too.

And if he is not in the tent, he would be too dangerous outside
… or is that the background to trying to get him “left out in the cold”? So that pissing in is not an option? Coming out of disgrace is best done with time – this might suit other “players”

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 10, 2011 1:42 pm

For anyone here, like me, who hasn’t heard of Adam Werrity before this Dr. Fox stuff, here is a Wikipedia entry. Be aware that it is currently being expanded and changed, so is likely to be more contentious and less accurate than usual. Good primer though in the abscence of anything definitive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Werritty

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 10, 2011 1:49 pm

Also, here is a brief summary of the “Security Futures” company that Fox & Werrity were involved in. Unfortunately any further information is behind a paywall, if anyone wants to stump up the cash to retrive it.

http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/security-futures

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 10, 2011 1:52 pm

Bring Portillo back – to hold the fort!

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 10, 2011 2:16 pm

@ ACC:

Pah! Portillo is having *far* too much fun as a professional pundit!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 10, 2011 2:54 pm

There might be more sensible people on the other channels, but on 4 (for geriatrics)he is the only one spotted so far
– Lord Tebbit, then, or…?

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 10, 2011 4:16 pm

Re: my previous posts at lunch time. Have followed up the other 2 MP’s involved in Security Futures.

Laura Sandys is the daughter of Duncan Sandys – of 1957 Defence White Paper fame.

Iain Stewart is a member of the transport select committee and appears to be most well known as an “openly gay” MP. Not that that matters a jot.

Both these names appear in the Adam Werrity Wikipedia article, are hyperlinked to Wikipedia bio pages and the article gives prominence to “Security Futures”. I’m forced into the conclusion that the article writer may be forcing a mindset onto anyone researching Werrity via this route:

i.e. Dr. Fox -> Adam Werrity -> Security Futures -> Daughter of 1957 White Paper “villain” -> Openly Gay MP.

Not buying into these inferrences at all!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
October 11, 2011 4:44 am
McZ
McZ
October 14, 2011 12:09 pm

If Mr Murphy is the shadow secretary for defence, we should bless each and every hour we have a secretary with corporate knowledge.

The ministerial code and it’s ‘Sections 5.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5’ maybe important. I think, politicians and especially ministers are there to inspire people. Mr Murphy is nothing but the revenge of the beancounters.

My guess is, that with this poor performance on part of the opposition, the storm is over.

Mark
Mark
October 14, 2011 4:32 pm
jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
October 14, 2011 4:58 pm

i’m sorry to hear it.

i hope his reforms keep the same direction of travel under his successor.

Gabriele
Gabriele
October 14, 2011 5:15 pm

I think that Fox’s resignations make for a very bad item of news.

He honestly did impress me, even though the SDSR was awful. But i’m under the impression that, with someone else in his place, said SDSR could have been even worse.
He struck me as being determinate and with rather clear ideas, and the balls to bring them forwards, and on several initiatives he did, in my opinion, very well.

I fear for the future of the MOD in these still very challenging times, without someone like Fox at the heel.
The Financial Times might even be right, and the service chiefs might not like him (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6cf0ea6c-f67c-11e0-9381-00144feab49a.html#axzz1alfS7N58), but my fear is that they might well be regretting this day later on.

Worrisome, to say the least.

Mark
Mark
October 14, 2011 5:28 pm

It is a real shame. I think he may have got the mod more money in sdsr than was initially the case we may not have liked all the decisions in sdsr but at least decisions were taken. He also appeared to have a genuine interest in defence and had a gd grasp of the subject. What exactly he new his friend was doing or what backers his friend had may come out later. I see little difference in this story than the relationship the PM had with your women from the news of the world.

A strategy or its implementation is more than one man but if some “lesser” figure takes over I fear defences share will fall further in the next cutting round

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 14, 2011 6:28 pm

Phillip Hammond ex transport, now defence sec. I have met him , he seems ok, but do not know how much he knows about defence. Think he made his money in care homes.

Mike
Mike
October 14, 2011 6:37 pm

damn! I know we moan about politicans etc etc (and especially defence ministers) but I still respect him for the way he leaked things and openly told the treasury and PM that the SDSR was going the wrong way… as others have said; it would have been worse without him.

In general I’m fed up with ministers being in charge/responcible for things they havent an idea about – they should have some sort of history in what they are assigned to, for any ministry… DX

Frenchie
Frenchie
October 14, 2011 6:53 pm

It makes me always funny to see that ministers are interchangeable, even in UK.

Mike W
October 14, 2011 7:13 pm

Philip Hammond is apparently very competent and “a safe pair of hands” but his appointment does show how small the pool of MPs with service experience has become. Why not appoint someone with some real military experience, someone like David Davies, for instance? I know that he is now a back bencher but he would bring some genuine experience of military service to the post and certainly have the interests of the armed forces at heart.

Paul R
Paul R
October 14, 2011 8:11 pm

I know we may not have liked the half arsed attempted at the defence review, when it was really about how to cut things. But Hammond? I think things will get so much worse under him, nothing but a mouth piece for the government. Hardly set the world alight at transport secretary, probably going to be easily bulled by the MOD. We might end up with 2 in service aircraft carriers or none at all!

The current crop of MPs are just utter tripe, hardly any inspiring cabinet members other than Ken Clarke!

I remember watching Parliament some years ago an saw some horrible Scottish person who got on my nerves because he came across as extreme left. That person wasn’t Gordon Brown but Jim Murphy.

x
x
October 14, 2011 8:13 pm

Mike W said “Why not appoint someone with some real military experience,”

Lord West? ;)

Tubby
Tubby
October 14, 2011 8:33 pm

Surely there is a danger if you appoint someone with real experience that they cannot see past their former service’s needs, ex-Army is almost certainly going to favour the Army over the RAF and RN, and the same would be true of both the RAF and the RN.

Mike W
October 14, 2011 10:35 pm

@Tubby

Yes, I see your point. A Minister might very well encounter inter-service rivalry and a weak or poor one would possibly favour his own service. However, a good one will, it is to be hoped, be perfectly impartial in such matters and fight for the good of the nation’s defence as a whole.

Where you find that kind of quality among the Ministers and MPs we have today is another matter. Here I tend to be as pessimistic as Paul R. Part of the problem is that so many of them study , say, PPE at Oxford or Cambridge, come out of university and go straight into politics, with no experience of the real world at all. In Philip Hammond’s case, though, from what I have read about him, he has had quite considerable experience in the world of business. However, he is an ex-Treasury Minister and might not fight as hard for extra expenditure as Fox did.

Sometimes you can see a problem or view an institution more clearly from the outside. However, I still feel that my basic point is right in that politicians with no military experience are at a disadvantage as far as Defence is concerned. They often fail to see the vital importance of defence of the realm, view the military as a bit of a nuisance and an easy target for cuts. They also often fail to appreciate how important such things as ethos and morale are among service people.

I suppose we tend to get the MPs and Ministers we, as a socirty, deserve. Someone said in a newspaper article a few years back that we had taken over from the USA as the centre of frivolity and I think it is true that the old concepts of duty and service have more than somewhat declined. People do seem more reluctant to believe that there are bloody huge, real dangers out there!

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
October 14, 2011 11:11 pm

Final score just in –

Level Eight 1 – Extension 0

LF is and always will be a complete chancer.
He has a booster club in the media and you have to ask why?
Possibly seen as the only “True Believer” at the top of the Tory Party?
However he is nowhere near as talented and capable as his ego would suggest.

You have to ask wil the MOD get a benefit from this change?
LF was using his department as a lever to further his own political ambitions.

JM = The Opposition
Dave the Rave = The Enemy.

Did LF cost the MOD £700mill / £1.1bill pa?
Did his posturing mean the MOD lost 8% instead of the expected 5%?

Fair enough that Dave the Rave acts as if he was terrified by the Etonian Cadet Force and that he is more interested in international social workers than the Armed Forces but LF never looked to manage the MOD in rational and constructive manner.

More a case he was looking for cheap headlines, raw meat for the Tory right and a few point scoring exercises to wind up Dave the Rave.

I don’t think he will be missed.
Not that I hold a grudge, it was his childish student politics that mean’t I couldn’t get into the Tech on a Friday night.

Beyond irony that his social life should have turned out as it has after all his early rabble rousing.

Paul R
Paul R
October 14, 2011 11:12 pm

Its still a bit of a bummer Fox has gone, but he was perhaps a tad too arrogant, in my eyes what has happened is corruption, trips funded by lobby groups, going to some places without civil servants. Then there is the security concerns. Quite frankly there hasn’t been a witch hunt like some tories have been saying, its all his own doing. It stinks to high heaven.

I saw Jim Murphy on Newsnight, he said why are our aircraft carriers having a jet holiday. I suggest he goes and asks the american and all former defence secs. They might be able to answers the dull man question.