The real significance of Liam Fox’s links with Adam Werritty is not that he broke the Ministerial Code, nor that the Conservatives (like Labour before them) have lobbyists crawling all over them. It’s that British foreign policy was and is being driven by the interests of outsiders: American billionaires, Israeli arms dealers and US hedge funds. They called it the Atlantic Bridge – but the only traffic it carried was neoconservative Tea Party extremism.
That’s hardly news, some might say, and they’d be right. But that it was all done so blatantly speaks volumes about the way the top ranks of the civil service have been so bludgeoned by decades of political bullying that they didn’t put a stop to it – not even when it turned into unvetted and unofficial advisers sitting in on intergovernmental meetings.
After the election in May 2010, the general secretary of the First Division Association, which represents top civil servants, talked about the loss of trust by citizens in politicians and Britain’s system of government: “At the very least, new ministers and MPs must begin to display the personal and moral integrity that was so obviously lacking in the previous Parliament, even within the Cabinet.” Some hope! Theirs is the morality of decline and deference to the US. If workers want their own morality to win, they will have to impose it. ■