Finally after a week or two of speculation and having the PM repeatedly expressing his confidence in his defence secretary (note to ministers when a PM repeatedly states his confidence in you what hes actually saying is piss off and resign before I have to sack you), Liam Doctor Fox has resigned from his post as defence secretary. His downfall was his close links to his buddy and best man Adam BFF Werritty.
In some respects, if you look at the situation from the point of view of an upper class twit you can understand why hed want to drag his friend around the world with him. After all theres all that cognac and champagne has to be drunk and its very hard to enjoy a good game of kick the beggar by yourself. So its understandable why he didnt think he was doing anything wrong. Of course given that the MoD happens to control procurement on some rather important bits of kit (tents, uniforms, submarines, trident missiles, assault rifles, the usual) the fact that he was paling around with a lobbyist was ultimately unacceptable. The MoD has to be seen to be whiter than white, even thought, as Ive pointed out here its far from that.
That said, his best matey might now be a serious spot of bother. His toff chums being furious with him and going to prison sort of bother. But Im quite sure it will turn out that he and the judge have cousins at Eton who are chums and hell get off scot free, what, what!
More significant is fall out from the Doctors down fall. The Euro-sceptics are in a right tissy as they fear that the balance of the cabinet is now too left wing and has a pro-Europe agenda…and when exactly did David, Osborne and Porky Pickles resign? I think I can sum up the above article as follows BBBBAAAAAAAAARRRGGGHHH!
Doctor Fox you see was to the right of the conservatives…to the right of the conservatives? Wha like BNP?…no more like Tea Party whom he had links too (see here) thats why the wicked witch of Lincolnshire (Maggie) showed up at his birthday a few weeks ago. No doubt these sceptics will soon be concocting elaborate conspiracy theories with Werritty as some sort of German agent or something. Unfortunately, as anyone whose ever read the comments page on the Telegraph or Fail will know most of these sceptics would regard anything less than a British land invasion of France as being a pro-European policy. I think that secretly many of them wanted the Doctor in the job just in case David when all bleeding heart on them (he did go through that whole ice caps are melting / hug a hoodie phase remember) and they had to launch a coup to remove him from power before he made gay marriage compulsory.
His resignation also creates problems for the MoD which now has its 7th defence secretary in 14 years. Its becoming the post where politicians go to die. Also this constant changing of secretary is making long term planning in the MoD difficult. The MoDs finances are in a mess, largely because of a lack of coherent planning by Whitehall, casing point ordering two Carriers which the country apparently now can no longer afford to maintain and ordering inappropriate STOL aircraft to operate off them (Bird and Fortune have a nice sketch about that here). And of course carriers arent much use in a war against Afgan rebels who are 800 miles inland.
On the other hand the MoD has a reputation for extremely wasteful practices. Having squadies stationed in badly insulated barracks where the heating has to be kept on all day, excessive use of fuel, spending thousands of pounds on kit that could be bought for a fraction of that at B&Q, etc. So this constant changing of leadership amounts to Seagull management (a new boss comes in, makes lots of noise, craps on everybody, then flies back out to sea) with the Admirals (the UK has more admirals than ships in the Royal Navy these days!) and Generals to putter in their sand box much too often. While Ill admit to being no fan of the military, so long as we have a large military it is imperative that spending is brought under control and that means getting value for money, but still ensuring the military has kit relevant to what they actually need to do the job.