I’m not interested in what goes on behind someone else’s bedroom door. Despite the insipid efforts of the political class, this is still supposed to be a free country and people should be able to act as they see fit within the law. However, following the posts on Guido Fawkes’ blog about the curious pattern of behaviour of William Hague, starting with these questions last week, it is clear Hague has questions to answer.
What qualifies Christopher Myers, a man whose job was simply driving William Hague around during the election campaign, to be added to the public payroll at our expense as a Special Adviser to Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office? Until we have a definitive answer people can be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that Myers is nothing more than the recipient of patronage as a reward for close friendship, which would be completely unacceptable. It is fair to describe the friendship as close because we have learned Hague and Myers shared a hotel room on at least one occasion. For those not familiar with this story, this observation by Guido Fawkes puts things into context:
Myers has a second class History degree from Durham University, the Foreign Office press release announcing his appointment describes him as “a lawyer”. If you imagine this might somehow qualify him to assist with treaty negotiations or in matters of international law sadly this is not so. He is not a qualified solicitor nor does he have any experience having only just completed a law course.
Considering that the prestige of the Foreign Office attracts the cream of Britain’s graduates his appointment does seem a strange choice given that Hague could have chosen a foreign policy specialist from CCHQ or the staff of a think-tank. To instead hire an inexperienced, poorly qualified young man over and above more qualified candidates does raise the question: what special talent, unseen by the rest of us, does Mr Myers possess?
All we have at this time is innuendo about the Hague-Myers relationship and confirmation that a twin bed hotel room was shared. I don’t care if Hague is gay, straight or bisexual. It’s none of my business. It wouldn’t have been an issue if there was just a physical relationship going on between Hague and Myers, save that it would provide us with yet another example of hypocrisy in a politician. But there is an issue here because taxpayers’ money is being spent on Myers’ salary following his questionable appointment. This makes the story a matter of public interest. The statement that:
‘Any suggestion that the Foreign Secretary’s relationship with Chris Myers is anything other than a purely professional one is wholly inaccurate and unfounded.’
just isn’t going to cut it. Meanwhile, against this backdrop we now see Tory ‘insider’ commentariat in the form of Iain Dale, rushing forth in an attempt to shut down the story. Describing the story as “petty and spiteful vilification of William Hague”, the increasingly censorious Dale plays the man rather than the ball by trying to smear Guido in backhanded fashion, by saying:
Guido Fawkes is not a homophobe, but the way he is writing about this allows those who think he is homophobic to confirm their own prejudices.
From Dale we see not one word of query about the suitability of Myers for his job or any question of Hague’s judgement in appointing a man who is plainly less experienced, capable and suitable than a raft of foreign affairs experts who could be providing the Secretary of State with the kind of political advice he might need. The lack of objectivity from Iain Dale is stunning though not surprising. After all, he raced to the defence of David Laws and opined that the Lib Dem didn’t have a “dishonest bone in his body” and in any case had been “hugely impressive” during his short time at the Treasury.
Dale has simply gone native. He sees himself as part of the political furniture and is more concerned with making and keeping friends in the Westminster bubble than standing up for probity and honesty. Rather than being a fearless blogger immune to seeking favour, he is setting himself up as the first line of defence against politicians whose behaviour and actions fall well below an acceptable standard.
Many people find Guido sometimes boorish and distasteful and a sizeable number of his commenters foul-mouthed and abusive. But at least via his blog he tries to deal with matters of public interest, while others try to use theirs as a self serving cudgel to silence criticism and justifiable probing of the actions of our political masters. I know which one I prefer.