Fox: real story and tabloid story

Submitted by Matthew on 19 October, 2011 - 10:10

A man with no visible means of support manages to make a living in a pretend job funded by “charitable” funds.

His job involves travelling (first class) around the world, misleading people into thinking he is an adviser to a government minister. He abuses this stolen privilege to help foreigners decide what is supposed to be British foreign policy. The perfect story, you would think, for rabid denunciation by the Express, Sun or Mail? Or investigation by the Taxpayers’ Alliance? Apparently not.

It was left to the Guardian to expose what Adam Werritty was up to, to reveal that Defence Minister Liam Fox was complicit in Werritty’s behaviour and that together they were pursuing their own independent foreign and defence policy. Or, to be more accurate, the policies urged upon them by a cabal of international corporations and right-wing lobby groups.

But, to be fair, we can’t expect the Express or Mail to spot this kind of behaviour when there is no evidence that the culprit is an immigrant, an asylum seeker or even East European? And the challenge is even greater when the attempt to shape foreign policy is not motivated by a desire to align it better with the interests of the dreaded European Union but instead with those of the United States and Israel.

When the Tory press finally realised they could not ignore the Liam Fox story there was a brief attempt to explain away the corruption with motives they could more easily condemn. Why, it was suggested, did Fox allow Werritty to travel everywhere with him and even stay in the same hotels when he didn’t take his wife on these trips? Wasn’t there a question about Fox’s sexuality some years earlier?

It was revealed on 12 October that Fox had lied last year when his flat was burgled overnight and he claimed that he had been the only occupant. In fact there had been another man staying with him. Was this Werritty? You could feel the Sun and a number of other papers wish it so. The story that could not be ignored could at least be better managed if it could be turned into a tale of good old-fashioned infidelity and sexual repression.

It became obvious that Fox’s overnight guest was not Werritty, but that did not halt the sharpening of the homophobic knives. The Sun claimed that officials had missed a “key detail” of the burglary. “They insisted the embattled Defence Secretary was sleeping there ALONE at the time. But The Sun can reveal a ‘younger man’ was staying overnight at the posh London Bridge apartment.” Obviously it is possible to sleep alone and have someone else staying in your house, but the Sun wants to suggest otherwise.

By 16 October the identity of the overnight guest was revealed as ex-soldier 44-year-old Graham Livesey — younger than Fox but not by much. Even the more sedate Telegraph couldn’t resist alluding to this aspect of the story. Matthew D’Ancona remarked oddly that “His intense male friendships — Edwardian in character — would have been entirely his own business had the relationship with Werritty not become something plainly unacceptable.”

Meanwhile the Guardian and Observer continued to pursue the real story. The extent to which Fox was in cahoots with hawkish financial and political interests was actually quite staggering. The organisation he set up to promote the UK-US special relationship, Atlantic Bridge, was funded and advised by a gruesome collection of ultra-right-wing US republicans, venture capitalists and special interest lobbyists. It was promoted by security investors, climate change deniers and speculators in health and education looking forward to the privatisation of public services. Werritty himself was directly funded, according to the Observer, by Poju Zabludowicz, chair of pro-Israel lobby group the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM). He was also funded by a private investigations company staffed by former M16 officers and set up by an Afrikaner “security specialist”.

The web that interconnects rapacious privatisers and free market ideologues with Tory ministers is the real story here. The Guardian has done us a service by revealing the extent to which elected politicians owe their loyalties not to the people who put them there but to those with the greatest wealth and power in society. That this story unfolded just as thousands of people built a movement to occupy Wall Street which then spread across the US and the world makes it all the more significant.

No innuendo required, no doubt about the dividing line. Fox, Werritty and their friends in the media are part of the 1% who control the world’s wealth and assets. The rest of us are the 99% who can only live by working to make them richer. We need to replace all of them and their rotten system.

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