Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A spat in the corner

The clever and sophisticated Mr Tim Montgomerie is trying to tell us that "the big political story of the day is a leaked letter from Liam Fox to David Cameron". It isn't at all.

The big story is DSK, and the Fox story is even less so as it is snug behind The Times paywall, where it just happens to be the lead item. One wonders how much and precisely what Mr Murdoch is dropping ConservativeHome in exchange for the occasional puff ... another article for Tim over the weekend, to assist in his burgeoning career as a political pundit, a few more plugs for the website ... ?

The background to Tim's tiny titbit, incidentally, is the military looking enviously at DFiD funds. It believes the MoD can waste the money far more efficiently than the High Commissioners and their associated luvvies - an assertion that is probably true, as DFiD will only spend it on Ferris wheels and similar delights. Thus has the MoD manoeuvred 13th Century Fox – a bear of very little brain – into sending a letter of complaint to Dave about the plan to lock the spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on foreign aid into law.

Then, in the way of things, the MoD PermSec passed the word on to a minion – but somebody senior enough to believe that The Times is still a newspaper – instructing him to leak the letter and start a little spat going in the near corner of Whitehall.

This will make absolutely no difference to the aid programme – which is set in stone – but it might yield a few more billions for the MoD swimming pool fund. It might also provide some extra bombs to keep the jolly in Libya going for a few more months.

Summer in the Adriatic Riviera is such fun and it would be such a shame to miss the full season, especially as visiting rights for MoD senior civil servants are so much under scrutiny. Was it really so necessary to send so many to inspect the pool facilities?