Sunday, 7 August 2016

For Fox's Sake

I have been reading up about Euro red tape (where will it go, who manufactures it, what kind of legislation governs the manufacture of EU red tape?).  That post is still some days away so here is a quickie about Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade.  

Liam Fox is a politician who has repeatedly helped himself to extra helpings of disgrace. Thanks to his sterling work as a Leave campaigner he will be heavily involved in the Brexit negotiations with the EU.  Boris Johnson and David Davis will be his political companions on trips to Brussels.  I bet they all really hate each other, which is some consolation. 

Everyone remembers that Liam Fox left his last Cabinet post in some kind of disgrace a few years ago but hardly anyone mentions the details.  I have certainly completely forgotten, yet the details are as pertinent now as they were back in 2010.  This is how politics works these days:  just wait around on the back benches until everyone has forgotten that embarrassing event when you ingloriously demonstrated your low repute.  Then when you think the coast is clear make it known you are available for the next Cabinet reshuffle.  Everyone said that Andrew Mitchell had ended his career when it was found that he lied in court and that he did in fact tell a policeman to, "Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government ... You're fucking plebs". I bet even he'll make it back in the end.  If he didn't intend to make it back to the top he wouldn't have stood for Parliament in the 2015 election.  He was re-elected with a slightly increased percentage, by the way.  This is UK democracy in the 21st Century.

I wanted to remind myself about the very nature of Liam Fox's disgrace.  If you are a clued-in member of society then I recommend you just skip the rest of this post because you will learn nothing at all - I'm really just rehashing what I learnt on the internet.  I'd like to be able to say I have the inside track to the Fox mindset but I don't.  I suppose I could just invent a not-hilarious anecdote like a "journalist" but I honestly can't be bothered.

I told you I am long-winded: four paragraphs in and I still haven't reminded you what Liam Fox did that left him in disgrace. Liam Fox used to be Defence Secretary.  While conducting his duties, he took an unvetted and completely unofficial "self-styled" advisor called Andrew Werrity to a number of meetings that involved issues of national security. Even after public officials made it clear to Liam Fox that taking personal friends, family members, business partners and fellow ukelele enthusiasts to meetings of national importance wasn't the done thing, he just carried on.  It is even claimed that his friend and business partner was working for a foreign power at the time of those meetings.  Just like John Profumo, he had to resign his position. Unlike John Profumo, he didn't go on to resign as an MP and then see out his days as a volunteer at an anti-poverty charity.  How times change.

The funny thing is that before Liam Fox became known as disgraced Liam Fox he was already in disgrace due to the expenses scandal.   We should really refer to him as multiply-disgraced Liam Fox rather than just plain old disgraced Liam Fox.  With luck we can start an internet meme.  Let's start now: multiply-disgraced Liam Fox is Secretary of State for International Trade.  I feel better already. I know it's a a bit of a mouthful but this is even more precise:  multiply-disgraced former and now not former Minsister Liam Fox.  This is UK democracy in the 21st Century.

To pile disgrace upon disgrace, Liam Fox has also been caught taking thousands of pounds from the Azeri government, while at the same complaining about human rights being a waste of money for the UK taxpayer.  Curiously, he didn't think his book was a waste of money for Azeri taxpayers. I don't know why this story made today's paper because it was common knowledge back in 2012.  See how quickly we forget?

We shouldn't forget the disgraceful acts of politicians, should we?  I mean, disgrace and shame are functions of the collective morality of society rather than society's collective memory.  What Liam Fox did in 2010 is just as bad today as it was back then.  He's just lucky that there is so much shame and disgrace in political circles that we can't keep up with it or remember any of it.  We need handy mnemonics to keep all of this squalor in our human brains.   Try it out for size one more time - multiply-disgraced former and now not former Minsister Liam Fox.  I'll admit it is not a very good memory aid but let's take it as a starting point.

To wrap this up here's a pop video from a band with a semi-appropriate name.  The singer is Ben Goldacre's Mum.  It is an excellent song and she did obviously did a great job parenting-wise so let's end on a high note. This was pop in the 20th Century.

Over and out,



  1. This is just disgraceful.

    The Doubly Disgraced Ex Ex Secretary for making sure that Mr Werrity had an 'in' to the internal dealings of the MoD while conducting various and sundry negotiations with Israel and the United States and a few Arab countries, yet not having any security clearance; not being approved as an adviser by the Prime Minister or the Cabinet Secretary... has been given, bless him, a job at which he will undoubtedly fail magnificently.

    He's started fabulously, by making all sorts of promises that he will not be able to keep.

    Trade talks, if done properly, I'm told, take many years and vast numbers of staff, to iron out little problems in so many different spheres. Failure to do this properly and diligently can be, no, will be, disastrous.

    Firstly the UK doesn't have these highly trained legal minded civil servants with in depth knowledge of international trade law. Added to that Basil Brush here has said that he'll have it all wrapped up in 2 years.

    So the outcome of all that, I suspect, is that we'll end up with crap deals. Folk like the Chinese will walk all over him and for all his close and loving relationship with the Americans, I imagine that they will have better and cleverer staff and will end up walking all over wee Foxy too.

    Not that any of that will bother the good ex doctor (yes, he's ex at that too!). He'll almost certainly be pensioned off into the House of Lords and be made a companion of honour or some other such garbage and he and Mr Werrity will live happily ever after selling their story to Rupert Murdoch's wide range of intellectually stimulating outlets.

    How are the robots coming on?

    1. I can certainly imagine trade talks taking years and years. At my work, we often work closely with partner companies. To do that we sometimes need low-level access to their software and sometimes they need access to ours. Often the work is urgent but as soon as the lawyers step in, to sort out contracts, rights, responsibilities, deliverables and timelines, months and months pass by before anything is agreed. An encrypted hard drive sat on my desk for about 6 months once, awaiting a signature to release the password. A good time to be a lawyer.

      You're right - everything is against the UK securing a good deal and, as you pointed out, it is more to do with our capability to get a good deal than the strength of the UK's position. The EU must surely have a permanent negotiating team. I don't want him to fail but it is some consolation to know that if he does fail we can blame him specifically. People like that never really think they've failed, though.

      Didn't know he was an ex-Doctor. He was a GP rather than a Doctor of Philosophy. I did read that he request his title be observed, though he doesn't actually have one outside a GP surgery. The reports seemed uncorrobated, though, so I didn't mention it. But now I have. Weirdly, senior medics revert back to Mr. I think that starts at consultant level. Foxy will always have a title even if he gets kicked out again: multiply-disgraced former and then not former but now once again former Minister.

      I think I should just blog entirely about sex robots. Give the public what they really want.

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  3. I like "What does the fox say?" at dance parties.
    Troy Machio

    1. Troy, you haven't said that since you caused all that trouble at the last dance party. Remember, you went around yelling, "There will be no dancing till Scotland is free". It was most embarrassing. You also invited everyone back to the "Love Shack", which turned to be a grotty student house you share with D-Fens.


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