If there's a lesson that stares us in the face from every episode of ministerial misadventure, it is that, when you are in a hole, you should throw away your spade and cough up the truth.
It's fair to say that probably 95% of misadventures go unnoticed, but, for the other 5%, once it's out.... it's out, and the press (rather than the pathetic opposition) will not rest until it has unearthed every last salacious detail. Not, you understand, in the interests of goodness, truth and beauty... but because it sells papers.
The Right Honourable Mr Liam Fox should probably have heeded that advice. It wouldn't have looked good for him, but at least he wouldn't have warranted the appellation LiaR LiaM.
Because, while he has been assuring us that absolutely nothing untoward has gone on between him and his young friend, Adam Werritty, details of the convergence of their careers has emerged; the press has, bit by bit unearthed the all sorts of juicy morsels. For example, when Fox was shadowing Health, Werritty ran a health consultancy and when Fox moved to Defence, yes, you guessed it, Werritty opened a defence consultancy. Now why, I wonder, was that?
Amazingly, Werritty ran a right wing "charity" Atlantic Bridge, from the taxpayer funded parliamentary office of his friend, in parliament, at a salary over over £90,000. The aim of the "charity" was to foster the Thatcher-Reagan relationship between the UK and US. Mrs Thatcher was a patron and Gove, Osborne and Hague were directors. It has since had its charitable status removed because it was too political, endorsing David Cameron in the last election. Werritty also lived rent free at a flat which was being paid for out of Fox's Additional Costs Allowances. You'd have thought that on £90,000 he could have paid something towards the rent.
And now bit by bit we are learning that Mr Werritty's many visits to the MoD were not two old mates having a cuppa and a natter, as had been suggested, but that Mr Werritty was indeed involved, through his consultancy, in setting up meetings for Mr Fox, presumably at a fee, and then attending these meetings himself, on occasions without the previously obligatory Defence staff.
Meetings in Dubai, meetings in Sri Lanka; accompanying the SoS on four foreign visits, echoes of Mr Haig's adventures with his young friend, Chris Myers. Fox has also stayed with Mr Werritty, during at least one of these foreign visits, in a luxury hotel (unchecked for security), instead of using the Embassy, which would have been cheaper.
If Fox had only been a bit more up-front at the beginning, this would be over by now, one way or another; the prime minister would have dealt with it as he saw fit, and the press would have moved on to pick on Philip Hammond, Chris Huhne or Ken Clarke.
As it is, it will run and run and it looks increasingly likely that Mr Fox will have to leave the government...