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Thursday 18 November 2010

When Leaks Are Not Leaks – 6

The MoD seems to have a problem with leaks. That’s not mere opinion, but the conclusion reached by Young Dave when he appeared before the Commons liaison committee today. Anyone perusing this blog will know all about the MoD and leaks, and that I’ve previously concluded that Cameron should sack Liam Fox.

While the PM has still not been taking on board the basics of Machiavelli, the defence review has come and gone, the leak having “intensified the pressure” on the Government, although Cameron has concluded that it did not “materially” affect the outcome. And, all too predictably, there has been another leak.

This leak, like the last leak, found its way to the Maily Telegraph. This event, which no doubt is mere coincidence, enabled the paper to assert that the defence review had “badly damaged the confidence and morale” of military personnel. The leaked document was drawn up by senior officers, and civil servants working for Fox.

It was supposedly prepared for a “secret” Whitehall assessment of the defence review, which suggests that someone in the MoD has retained their sense of humour, as by now it is screamingly obvious that there is little in that department that remains secret for long – especially when it is in close proximity to the Defence Secretary.

Young Dave had Michael Heseltine quoted to him at the Liaison Committee, when he was asked if, as Tarzan had suggested, the letter from Fox to Cameron which went astray earlier had been “written to be leaked”. The question was straight-batted away, but it must now be obvious to the PM that he has to act, and act quickly.

Fox is clearly attempting to establish a competing power base, and Machiavelli is quite clear on that: do not allow it to happen. As I said before, Cameron has to sack Fox, and sack him quickly. Clem Attlee wouldn’t have hesitated. Neither would Margaret Thatcher.

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