David Cameron's appointment of General Sir Richard Dannatt as a military adviser was "a very major error of judgment", a former head of the Civil Service said yesterday.
This was Lord Turnbull, giving evidence to the Commons Public Administration Committee, warning that the move would call into question the political impartiality of other defence chiefs.
"You talk to the admirals and they are incandescent," he said. "It subverts the chain of command. One day the Chief of Defence Staff has this guy as his deputy, a few months later he is issuing instructions to him."
Turnbull adds that it risks politicising the military. "They will be thinking, 'Now which way is he going? Is he one of those New Labour people, is he a Conservative?'"
The Labour chairman of the Committee, Tony Wright, asked Turnbull if he thought the error was on the part of Gen Dannatt or David Cameron. Turnbull replied: "I'll leave you to judge that."
According to The Guardian though, "Dannatt is dead in the water." It gets that from a shadow minister who says that "Cameron is ruthless enough to realise he has made a bad mistake and will correct it."
Rather puts the views of all those little Tory Boys and Girls in perspective – they thought Dave had been so clever. What will they say when their hero puts the General back in his box? Come to think of it, what will the "Army legend" say?