The downfall of Liam Fox strikes me not just as a loss to government of a decent and honourable man who made a mistake, but the loss of probably the best defence secretary we have had in a generation.
Fox's dedication to getting on top of his brief — for four years in opposition and then in government — was exemplary. But among the aspects of his defenestration that particularly bother me one still stands out. That is the eagerness with which even newspapers which used to support the Conservatives turned on him. Obviously he had enemies inside the party as well as outside but this doesn't quite explain the media aspect. I asked one friend from a "Conservative" paper: "Why did he have to go?"
"Well, he'd become the story, hadn't he?" he said. "Because you'd made him the story," I corrected him.
But here is the strange thing: the Left never do this. Not only do they never drop one of their own, they do anything they can to cover for their own. It's tribal. I don't think that is the right attitude. In fact, it stinks. But it does create a serious imbalance in our politics. The left-wing papers never hound left-wing politicians, only right-wing ones. But the right-wing ones hound anybody, and right-wingers with seemingly more glee. Perhaps this is another proof of the truth of O'Sullivan's law, propounded by the journalist John O'Sullivan, that given time everything drifts leftwards.
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I was invited to address the anti-Durban conference in New York. This counter to the UN's racist "anti-racism" conference includes ambassadors, authors and real human-rights activists (as opposed to the UN's version) like Simon Deng, a former child-slave from Sudan. He speaks after me and for every reason I am grateful. The actor Jon Voight follows him and speaks beautifully. But how do you get the words out when the person before you tells a tale of horror with such dignity?
One of the opening speakers is Elie Wiesel. Ahmadinejad is about to speak opposite us at the UN. At Auschwitz and Buchenwald Wiesel saw the Holocaust that Ahmadinejad denies. Quietly Wiesel says that two things should perhaps happen: when the Iranian president speaks he should speak to an empty hall and when he leaves his hotel he should be met by police who question him on his stated ambition to commit another genocide. Everyone at our counter-event listened to Wiesel intently, but the UN-and the NYPD-of course did not. How will future generations view this if Ahmadinejad ever achieves his dream?