Much was made by Young Dave and his jolly good chaps of the tendency of Pa Broon and his clan to make policy announcements to the press, and not, as was previously the case before the New Labour Project, to Parliament. Now that the boot is very much on the other foot, the new and improved two-headed donkey seems to be carrying on the same way.
Typifying this not very new politics is Defence Secretary Liam Fox, reliably right wing although, on occasion, a loose cannon. Fox clearly wants a new Chief of the Defence Staff, but incumbent Jock Stirrup has not yet volunteered his resignation. The solution was clear: Fox went on the Beeb’s Politics Show yesterday lunchtime, told how there had been “amicable” discussions, and that Stirrup, along with Permanent Under Secretary Bill Jeffrey, would be on their way soon.
The two, it now transpires, could be out before the upcoming Defence Review, which may bring a smaller Army – Fox is telling that he cannot rule any option out. Perhaps he will also not rule out bringing his news to Parliament. If Mr Speaker uses this as a means of reasserting the authority of the Commons, of one thing we can be certain: those commentators who applauded his warnings to Pa Broon will find adversely on any perceived upbraiding of Young Dave.
Meanwhile, the last word on Defence has to go to Liam Fox, who has told that nothing is ruled out of the Defence Review, save for the nuclear deterrent, because “ ... the threat is so great that we can’t drop the deterrent”.
Er, hello? If you can’t drop it, why have it?