Turning up with all the gaiety of a wet fart in a lift, Liam Fox was somehow allowed on to The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning to tell anyone still interested in his view that there should be more surveillance because of what may be happening in the Middle East. He also suggested that it would be good fun to strip a few people of their citizenship, perhaps pour encourager les autres.
It was probably buggins’ turn, and Fox was judged to be as senior a party figure as Labour’s Chuka Umunna, who was there to defend Mil The Younger against the latest wave of faux outrage, which in turn had been precipitated by the last wave doing nothing to Labour’s poll lead. But the ability of someone so comprehensively discredited to worm his way onto the airwaves is disquieting.
Why this should be may have been forgotten by some, so perhaps a little memory-jogging is in order. For Fox and the Tory right, the rot set in during September 2010, when a number of leaks were made by someone in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the Maily Telegraph. The culprit, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, was Fox. And Young Dave should have sacked him there and then.
Sadly, it was only with the discovery of Fox’s arrangements with “close friend” Adam Werritty a year later that Cameron finally sacked the SOB (the subsequent inability of most of the press to acknowledge the Guardian as being the title that did for Fox was an interesting side-show). All of that was reason enough not to trust Fox any further than he could be chucked. But then came his “charity”.
The quote marks are because, as Jamie Doward at the Observer pointed out, “Officially it was a charity; in fact, Fox's thinktank was a meeting place for the movers and shakers of the right wing”. Atlantic Bridge, according to Fox, was all about “a network of individual people who can know one another”. Those people were, generally, impeccably right-leaning.
Doward noted that Atlantic Bridge’s website had been taken down, “But old caches of the site reveal that, while shadow ministers, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and William Hague were all on its advisory council alongside Fox, its UK chairman. All four stood down as awkward questions over its political activities, which contravened charity laws, resulted in the organisation being wound up”.
So not only had Fox been a thoroughly untrustworthy member of the cabinet, he had also been involved in breaking charity laws, and overseeing highly irregular behaviour by his pal Werritty. Why does the Tory Party continue to allow him to be put forward to speak for them? Downing Street must know that he will continue to peddle his own perverse view on security matters.
Or perhaps the Tories are happy for someone to promote paranoia for them.