Wading into the debate on the revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and which have been published by the deeply subversive Guardian among others, has come Tory MP Liam Fox, whose North Somerset seat is not nearly as safe as he might like. Fox is not merely a has-been, but a never-will-be-again-while-the-Tory-leader-has-a-hole-in-his-arse.
The former Defence Secretary, now consigned to the back benches and looking nervously over his shoulder at the Lib Dems – just 7,500 votes behind in 2010 – has decided to go in to bat for the spooks. This should surprise no-one, as Zelo Street regulars will recall: Fox was in post when a series of well-publicised leaks came out of his ministry at a time of spending cuts (see HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE).
And the spook conduit of choice is, as is by now well-known, the Telegraph, which obediently ran Fox’s comment piece yesterday. One look at the rhetorical question in the sub-heading is all you need: “Does The Guardian newspaper's publication of stolen secrets amount to irresponsible and potentially criminal behaviour, asks the former defence secretary”. No, he doesn’t ask: that’s what he is asserting.
Fox observes that there are two debates, one over press regulation, and another concerning the right of papers around the world to publish the Snowden material. “It is important that we do not conflate these two issues” he states loftily, before going on to do just that. “The press have argued that there should be no special laws for them. The logical corollary is that there should be no special treatment either”.
Spot the false assumption: there has been no pleading from the Guardian for exceptional treatment. Moreover, there has been no move against its editor, or its journalists, despite Fox using a former head spook to suggest that what the paper has done is “even more damaging than the activities of the Cambridge Five, the Soviet spy ring that included Kim Philby and Guy Burgess”.
So Fox clearly is on the side of those who want to see Alan Rusbridger clapped in irons and hauled off to the Tower of London. But here a thought enters: one paper among the entire Fourth Estate was responsible for the investigative journalism that exposed Fox’s corrupt relationship with his long time friend Adam Werrity, and set in train the events that made his resignation inevitable.
And what was the name of that paper? That would be the Guardian, which laid out its contributions at the time. The Guardian did not participate in the bad behaviour: it merely exposed Fox as a spiv and a charlatan. He can have no complaints: in any case, he should consider himself lucky that Cameron did not sack him the previous year over all the MoD leaks. His Telegraph rant is just a crude payback attempt.
Liam Fox is a contemptible shit, and unfit for office. No change there, then.