Stephen Byers (of all people) said this when he resigned:
“What is clear to me is that I have become a distraction from what the government is achieving… that by remaining in office I damage the government.”
Liam Fox is a major distraction at a time when the last thing the government – or the electorate (remember them?) need is a distraction. If he stays in denial and remains in office for very much longer he’ll not only damage his own reputation (such as it is), the reputation of the government and the credibility of the Prime Minister – who appears to be all of a dither.
The bottom line is that Fox has behaved in a manner which is incompatible with the position he holds. It really is that simple. The fact that he clings to office is a measure of the man. That his judgement has been so poor should indicate to the prime minister that he is not fit to be a secretary of state. But, as with Coulson, Cameron is proving that he’s not good at taking ‘people decisions’, which is not a sign of a strong, decisive leader.
Gladstone said the the first requirement of a prime minister was to be a good butcher. Prime ministers need to protect their own position and to see that the interests of an individual do not get in the way of the greater purpose. David Cameron would be wise to understand this and learn from his predecessors. Perhaps Sir Gus O’Donnell should ‘wise him up’ – he clearly failed to do so in the past, but maybe Dave’s inexperience is showing and/or he’s pig headed – maybe he’s a bit of a light weight after all and leadership’s not his thing? He needs to prove to us he’s made of sterner stuff.
Meanwhile the chase is on and the hounds are baying. It is not an edifying sight. Time to cull the Fox and put it out of its (and our) misery.