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Foxgate: Should He Stay Or Should He Go? Adam Werritty Scandal Continues

Posted on the 12 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Foxgate: Should he stay or should he go? Adam Werritty scandal continues

Dr Liam Fox: Defence Secretary. Photocredit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office,

Defence Secretary Liam Fox is beginning to suit the word “embattled” rather well. Questions have been raised over his relationship with Adam Werritty, a lobbyist who was also his best man and former flatmate; Werritty is understood to have accompanied Fox on several trips abroad (at least 18, but it seems more are surfacing), despite having no official role. The Guardian has unearthed hotel records in Dubai which show that Werritty claimed to be from Fox’s office when he signed into the Shangri-La hotel. Fox claims that Werritty was there in a private capacity; even The Guardian admits that it is possible that Fox didn’t know how Werritty had described himself.

Now it is also claimed that Conservative officials lied about the circumstances surrounding a burglary at Liam Fox’s house last year: The Sun , in a style that can with certainty be called “nudge-nudge wink-wink”, claims that it was told Liam Fox was alone at the time, when it fact a “younger” man was staying overnight. Fox himself claims indignantly that he had told the police he wasn’t alone, and that the man wasn’t Werrity anyway, but a friend staying in the guest room.

But the bigger question is should Dr Fox be sacked, or should he be left alone? Some think he should immediately get the boot; others that he should be given the benefit of the doubt until the truth comes out.

“I thought we had got past the point in politics where we needed to worry about people’s private lives. Liam is a very good defence secretary doing a very good job,” Minister Chris Grayling told the BBC.

Public flogging! Just look at Fox’s grammar, tutted Jonathan Freedland in The GuardianHis telling use of the passive voice: “allow distinctions to be blurred” shows that he wants to distance himself as far as possible from his acts. The opacity of his sentences can surely only mean that he’s worried about the consequences of what he’s done. There’s a reason civil servants must sit in on ministerial meetings – so that the chaps in charge don’t abuse their power. Even a full apology isn’t enough. “If Fox hasn’t the decency to quit, Cameron should fire him.”

“I’m appalled at being portrayed as having something to hide,” said Liam Fox, quoted on Politicshome.

More than meets the eye? Matthew Norman in The Independent, in an article that certainly nosed towards the ironic, was a little more subtle than Freedland, saying that Liam Fox inspires a “level of devotion that beggars belief,” and loyalty is the “platinum of human resources.” When two grown men spend a lot of time together, “tongues will wag.” There’s no evidence, though that they were lovers; nor any that Werritty made a “bean from his travelling circus,” despite the fact that he travelled almost everywhere with Fox, showing an “ungodly gift for self-sacrifice.” It would have looked suspicious if Werritty had only just jumped on the Fox-cart; but he started when Fox was a shadow health minister – just as Werritty was “launching a health consultancy firm.” Is this “nothing more sinister than the Platonic ideal of friendship?”

The truth is out there. Well, that may be so, said Daniel Finkelstein in The Times , but we don’t yet know the whole picture. The problem is that in scandals leaders are expected to move quickly to show they’re in control – but sometimes that’s not possible, as the truth isn’t known. Sure, Liam Fox has shown “poor judgment”; but the fact that nothing’s happened about his position yet is because of “something very human” – it’s just that Cameron doesn’t yet know the truth; to sack Fox would be to end his career, which, given the fact that Fox is admired and doing a good job, would be anathema. The problem is that we see politics like we see flims, with pacing and a conclusion. But life isn’t like that. “While David Cameron is grappling with the truth about Liam Fox’s actual life, voters are watching him in Fox: the Movie.”

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