Tuesday 18 October 2011


Sir Whitewash O'Donnell was duty bound to find that Fox had breached ministerial codes by inviting his friend to meetings at the MoD, taking him to to 18 different countries, allowing him to give the impression of being the 'official' at meetings with defence equipment providers, and appearing to be oblivious to the fact that the man was handing out cards sporting the portcullis logo and the annotation: 'Advisor to the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP'.

No, there no other conclusion to reach. After all, even Fox had admitted that he had blurred the lines between professional and personal relationships with his friend.

Clearly, as usually happens in these matters (it was shown in "Yes Prime Minister" and according to Craig Murray, happens to this day), the terms of reference for the inquiry, agreed between Cameron and O'Donnell, are so narrow, that almost nothing of damage to the government can possibly come to light.

The list of questions that O'Donnell and his staff have failed to ask is far longer than the list that they have actually asked. Fortunately, however, we live in a world where the witterings of people like O'Donnell, whilst they may constitute the official report on the subject, are not the beginning and the end of these matters. Doubtless there will be many theories about the relationship between Werritty and Fox promulgated on the internet by bloggers are well informed as Craig, and as badly informed as me, and those of us with a mind to will believe what we think to be right.

With enough pressure from the blogosphere, the mainstream press will hopefully be prodded into further investigations, further discoveries, and doubtless further embarrassment for the government (as happened this weekend when, following a lead from Craig, various papers printed stories about the connection between Werrity and Mossad, and the pair's connections with Atlantic Bridge amongst other things not covered in the official inquiry.

It makes you wonder what they think they will achieve by trying to hide facts from people. The internet has changed all that, and no one in government seems to have realised it.

One thing that may come as something of a surprise to members of the public, and most particularly government employees who are facing redundancies and cut wages, is that Fox, who resigned (rather than was sacked) because, at very least, he broke his contract of employment, will receive a pay off of £17,000.  Remember that this man hasn't lost his other job. He is still an MP on a salary of around £66,000, three times the UK average. He won't have to cancel his holiday, sell the car, start shopping for clothes in Oxfam, or eating Morrison's "Value Label" food. 

He'll still be rich, still have his generous salary and his excellent expenses package. If the man had had a shred of decency he would have made it clear at his resignation that he wanted no compensation from the British taxpayer for having lost his job by letting them down. 

Refusal to take the money now is too late. It will look like he is reacting to criticism.

We are left with the impression of a self serving, greedy and stupid man.


  1. I find it rather odd that the Cabinet Secretary should be involved at all. After all, it is ministers (and the Prime Minister in particular) who have the responsibility for the behaviour of their colleagues and civil servants.

    It is rather like the lord and master of an estate asking his butler or factor to look into the alleged misdeeds of some scion of the family.

    The cabinet should have tipped Fox the black spot as soon as it all blew up - or preferably before and he could have resigned to spend more time with his family or whatever other interest he found more pressing. Given the nature of the Westminster and Whitehall village, none of it can have come as a surprise.

    It is not a matter of structures or codes of conduct but of the standards of behaviour which once (by and large) could be expected - dare I say it - of gentlemen. In business and private life I have been privileged to know people of all economic classes who uphold that sort of standard in their dealings. It is a matter of self respect for them. Politics today seems to attract overwhelmingly only those with outsize self esteem.

    CS Lewis once wrote (approx) "I would rather play cards with a man who has been brought up on the maxim "Gentlemen don't cheat" than with a professor of ethics, however highly qualified, who was not".

    Any official enquiry invariably concludes

    Mistakes have been made
    Lessons have been learned
    That is what they are for.

  2. I'm agree, Mr S.

    I understood there was a person whose job it was to look into and adjudicate on alleged breaches of ministerial code. Certainly someone was appointed by Brown to do this, but that may have been only for the course of his government.

    In any case, it's wrong that the head of the Civil Service does it. Fox did not work for him.

    I think I saw, but did not have time to read, in one of the papers, an article to the effect that Fox had been warned about his "friendship". By whom, I don't know, because I didn't have time to read it. So yes, everyone knew, and if he was doing his job right Cameron knew. It should have been stopped.

    Like the payment of 17,000 of our pounds. As I said, it's too late to turn it down now, as Quentin Letts suggests he does. The damage is done and it will only look like reaction.

  3. Edward/Tris

    Excellent posts. What I can't understand is why someone who had to resign should be offered monetary compensation. If I were to resign I imagine, hopefully, that my employers would say "Thank you for your service and good luck in the future" and that would be the end of the matter. If, however, I'd signed a contract for say two years and left before completion most employers would want compensation for breach of contract.

    Still, I suppose if politicians make their own rules they are hardly likely to make rules with adverse consequences for themselves.

  4. When someone admits to the "appearance of wrongdoing" is that because, odds on, the 'appearance' is caused by ... God forbid ... actual wrongdoing?

    I am glad he is gone. He does little for the credibility of direct democracy. Is it that hard to be upright and honest? Most of us are.

    People like Fox serve only to prove the existence of egoists. Some of us are altruists.

  5. Thank you, John.

    Aye, it beats me too. Right, you've been a fool; you've endangered the country's security; you've broken rules by having your mate in to work in one of the most secret departments of government; you've been even more stupid to let him meet up with you all over the world and sit in on meetings with arms and equipment manufacturers; you've been half mad to beg for money for him from rich right wing friends with dubious motives; you've made a fool of the government .... now, I know you still have a pretty good paying job, but to help ease you back into living on £66,000, he're is £17,000 of tax payers money... no, go on, take it, we'll just get Merv to print some more, and it's not ours anyway."

    It rewards failure.

    Of course everyone else's employers would thank them for their services and have a whip round to get them a plant, or a framed photo, or something of the sort. We just live in different worlds, and despite the big fuss a couple of years ago, they "don't get it".

    I suspect that they soon will.

  6. LOL yes. It's quite funny that a high security minister inviting a totally unvetted person into his inner circle can admit to "the appearance" of wrongdoing.

    Why are these people such cowards. What in the hell is wrong with a little humility. Mea culpa. It's easy, and you really do feel better.

    But this is a man who blamed other people for everything that went wrong.

    It appears that he was told over and over by civil servants that he was out of order, he knew better because he was the Right Honourable, Secretary of State and when he snapped his fingers people ran.

    Such hubris is bound to be the undoing of people like Liam Fox.

  7. http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/10/worlds-thinnest-whitewash/#comment-324505

    I thought this might interest you.