Do the Tories make up the names of their ministers just to look like a gathering of the landed gentry, I wonder? And what is it about these ministers and their special advisers that is so problematic? Liam Fox’s special adviser went and, shortly after, Fox followed. What are the odds on Jeremy Hunt following his?
But the Hunt and Murdoch affair is very odd indeed. If there were a need to keep the Murdochs informed about progress on the case relating to the takeover of BSkyB, and given this was a quasi-judicial role, the special adviser should never have been involved in any way. Spads are political appointees, giving political advice to ministers etc. As such, they should not be involved in the exercise of an adjudication which must, as we know, be according to the law, evidence, due process etc. This should not be a political decsision and so a spad has no business being involved. Of course, this particular spad overstepped the mark – or so we are to believe.
It is another astonishing aspect of this case that so many senior people with resources, staff etc should be so unaware of so much. Murdoch Snr. didn’t know of the cover up. Murdoch Jnr. didn’t know very much at all and seems to have put a good deal of effort into paying no attention to something that was the subject of widespread discussion. And Hunt knew nothing of the activities of his spad.
Of course, to rail enthusiasts, spad means Signal Passed At Danger – referring to trains that run through red lights. SPADs tend to result in accidents.