May Intends to Appoint Liam Fox as Chancellor 87

A week ago an old Whitehall colleague told me that Treasury mandarins expect to be briefing Liam Fox as the new Chancellor should the Tories be re-elected – and they were not much looking forward to the experience. I did not pay much attention until today’s May/Hammond press conference, where it became evident that Hammond’s coat is on the shoogliest of pegs.

Hammond started the day being ripped to shreds by John Humphreys on the Today programme and getting the cost of HS2 radically wrong. But that hardly matters, as it is only when this happens to opposition figures that the mainstream media highlights and constant replays it.

A much more telling incident happened shortly thereafter when, standing alongside Hammond, May was three times asked directly if Hammond would continue as Chancellor, and she refused to back him, only at the third time of asking giving the most half hearted endorsement. I then realised the information I had been given was good.

Strangely, it is only the right wing media that has noted Fox’s continuing relationship with Adam Werritty. It was the Spectator which published that Werritty joined Fox on the Commons Terrace for a champagne spree to celebrate the disgraced ex-minister’s return to office. I was told by a SNP MP who witnessed it and used the phrase “brass neck”. But only the Spectator reported it, and only the Times has said that the two remain close. They reported last year that Werritty is living in Dolphin Square (I know, let’s not go there).

I have an irresistible image of what life is going to be like inside the Treasury, should Fox and Werritty have the run of it.

Of course Werritty opened a private health company when Fox was Health Secretary and a defence consultancy business when Fox was Minister of Defence. If Fox becomes Chancellor, I presume he gets to open a bank!

But on a more serious note, the prospect of Fox becoming Chancellor is truly alarming. The hard right links he forged through the now defunct Atlantic Bridge to the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heritage Foundation give him direct access into the heart of the Trump administration, and align him with the nastiest millionaires and hedge fund managers, with the funders of climate change denial and with those who wish to abolish literally all workers’ rights and consumer protections. This article by George Monbiot is rather dense, but it is essential reading. And terrifying.

Fox appears to be confined in a locked cupboard for the duration of the election campaign. Doubtless he is waiting, like a child on Christmas Eve, to come bursting out and claim his prize once it is over.

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87 thoughts on “May Intends to Appoint Liam Fox as Chancellor

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  • Sharp Ears

    Comic Cuts on both sides of the Atlantic it would appear. Here’s a familiar face.

    ‘Former FBI boss to lead Russia inquiry

    Robert Mueller is a former prosecutor who served as FBI chief from 2001 to 2013. He has been named as a special prosecutor to oversee a probe into Russia’s alleged interference in the US election.

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said it was “in the public interest” to bring an outsider in to oversee the investigation.

    Calls for a special prosecutor have mounted since President Donald Trump fired the FBI director last week.’

  • Hieroglyph

    Monbiot is an idiot. He writes an entire article on Dark Money, and fails to mention the Clinton Foundation. I even did a search with the word ‘Cinton’. Results: zero.

    The Clinton Foundation is an utter cess-pit of corruption, pay for play, drug money, Saudi money, and (allegedly) even worse. These supposed leftist writers who have gone insane over Trump are pathetic, miserable, globalist quislings. They also don’t appear to know what a ‘fascist’ is, which is unforgivable.

    Also, this:

    Brietbart don’t mention Trump’s Dark Money, but it’s Brietbart, who are openly biased towards Trump. Monbiot is meant to be a journalist. Perhaps he can answer why he doesn’t mention The Clinton Foundation? It is, after all, relevant to his article.

    Lordy, I’m defending Trump again. I assure you, I really don’t want to. I’d much prefer The Left shows some balls, and disavow Clinton.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I don’t doubt for a minute that the Clintons’ operations are deeply dodgy. But I’d guess that Monbiot would be in a lot of trouble if he published allegations he couldn’t substantiate. In Trump’s case, the business connections and the money are far more public than they are in the Clintons’. He doesn’t have the reliatively opaque facade of charitable interests to hide behind, and he’s not a paid stooge of global finance, whatever other crimes he is guilty of, some of which are on public record too.

    • Temporarily Sane

      I’ve lost all respect for Mombiot. First he joins the calls for war on Syria and now this. Either the man is truly an idiot or he is a coward who values his status as an establishment journalist more than he values facts and the pursuit of truth.

      The Guardian under Viner’s helm may as well be run from Democratic Party HQ. The collective worship of Clinton at that rag knows no bounds and is truly cringeworthy. Monbiot was the token soft left-winger but he’s now jumped the shark completely. The comments section there used to be lively…that too has come to an end.

      It does seem we are in the twilight days of democracy but what is even more disconcerting is how easily people swallow the misinformation peddled by the western media, which has become the official propaganda service of the neoliberal establishment. There are so many contradictory and morally indefensible positions endorsed and put forward by the mainstream media….yet nary a peep of criticism emerges from the liberal side of the spectrum.

      The Trump spectacle has pushed people to reveal where they stand politically and the patterns that have been revealed are not particularly encouraging. The liberal so-called left loudly calls for a renewed Cold War with Russia and the destruction of nations whose only “crime” is their desire to remain sovereign and it approves of a capitalism that Thatcher and Reagan could support.

      But perhaps the most insane, and morally bankrupt, development recently is the liberal position that slurs against homosexuals, “trans-people”, women and ethnic minorities constitute the worst transgression imaginable. Destroying countries via invasion, bombing and using gangs of mercenary thugs and murderous religious zealots as a proxy is just, moral and civilised but questioning the soundness of limitless gender fluidity and men and women who have sex change operations must be loudly opposed! Along the same lines…how dare Trump prevent people from select Muslim majority nations enter the United States…he should be civilised like Obama and Hillary and their NATO flunkies and kill them with high explosives instead.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    “Middle-class pensioners to lose benefits under Tory plan to fund social care ” – Telegraph

    Tories currently committing Kamikaze displaying the fact that they know absolutely nothing about society nor economics. May I suggest they take some lessons re current modern economics from Professor Bill Mitchell…

    As regards society – they are beyond redemption.

    Is anyone actually going to vote for these horrible people?

    If I was a betting man, I’d put a few quid on Labour to win….(or a hung Parliament – the lot of them)

    The Tories, like the Americans obviously believe their own propaganda, bullsh1t and bent opinion polls.

    And so far as Liam Fox is concerned – he should be in jail for Treason.

    These people are supposed to be working for us.


    • Herbie

      “Is anyone actually going to vote for these horrible people?”

      Yeah. Loads. Unfortunately.

      You see, if your only source of info is mainstream media, then you don’t know the Tories are thieves, tucking into your pocket.

      All you know is that Jeremy ain’t fit for the job. he’s got funny teeth and doesn’t wear proper suits.

      Most people seem to get their info from msm, so all’s they know is what they’re told.

      What’s proper and what’s not.

      And what they’re told is that anyone who’s against, in no matter how small a way, the neoliberal agenda, is completely beyond the pale.

      It’s as simple as that.

      Every time.

      Same story.

      • Habbabkuk

        Well, I heard Nick Robinson interrogating Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the Conservatives’ social care proposals on BBC Radio 4 this morning (at about 08h15).

        It struck me as a tough interview and yet further proof that all this talk about the BBC being a Conservative Party stooge is just garbage.

  • Sharp Ears

    Britain is a fascist state. The state broadcaster plays its part in the management of the people.

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    • Brianfujisan

      There’s No Denying it Sharp ears

      A rouge State too… Helper’s of Terrists.. And now the / We are in Somalia

    • Habbabkuk

      “Britain is a fascist state.”

      Mindless garbage. The Communists used to call anyone who disagreed with them “fascists”.

      Fascism and Soviet communism are two sides of the same totalitarian coin.

      The UK (along with many other countries) are liberal democracies.

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘Theresa Mary May Takes Free School Dinners Away’

    Not as catchy as ‘Maggie Thatcher Milk Snatcher.’ Pity

    La Kuenssberg pens a few lines. Composing the full version as we speak. You can bet she has been given an advance copy to work on.

    ‘Tory manifesto: May’s bid to be tough not cruel
    Laura Kuenssberg
    Political editor
    7 hours ago

    From the section Election 2017
    Teresa May Image copyright Reuters
    Don’t expect hearts and flowers.

    Thursday’s Tory manifesto will not be presented as a description of a land where milk and honey flows. But rather look for a hard-headed assessment of the country’s problems, wrapped up in arguments about why Theresa May is the person to fix them.

    Against the logic put forward by many of her colleagues, she will stick to a tough message on immigration – UKIP voters who could turn Tory ever in mind.

    She will present solutions on social care that in one way or another will mean more people have to pay more, and she’ll means test some pensioner benefits to do it too.

    They will avoid any mention of a “death tax”, but her critics may well try to cast it that way

    There is a big risk too in limiting some free school meal provision.

    Theresa May wants to be seen as tough, she does not want to be labelled harsh, or cruel.

    But even before the manifesto is fully published, the Lib Dems have labelled her “the lunch snatcher”.

    If you are too young to remember, a reference to Mrs Thatcher “milk snatcher” who ended free school milk in the seventies.

    We are only tonight getting the first details of the manifesto – there is more to come. Details on tax, the NHS, crime, defence.

    But with what we know so far, if she wants voters to believe it’s a “country for everyone'” she has quite a job to do ‘

    That is added to this version today

    Conservative manifesto: Pledges on social care and immigration
    24 minutes ago

    • Habbabkuk

      “‘Theresa Mary May Takes Free School Dinners Away'”

      Not quite true – read the manifesto and/or listen more carefully.

      Is there any good reason why the children of comfortably-off parents should get free school meals paid for by the general taxpayer, which category (unfortunately) includes many on low incomes?

      The same thought applies to the winter fuel allowance.

      One would have thought that no longer making free school meals or the winter fuel allowance available to the better-off would be welcomed by left-wingers, who, in the field of income tax, believe that the current system is insuffiently progressive.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        The old argument used to be that the benefits of the welfare state should be available to all equally. The perceived unfairness of that would be mitigated by progressive taxation to pay for the services. To each according to his/her need, from each according to his/her ability. With a truly progressive tax system – taxation by proportion of income rather than incrementally (and arbitrarily) staged levies on absolute amount – this would work rather well. The better off would be free to donate their unwanted benefits to charity, as they are now.

        • Habbabkuk


          “With a truly progressive tax system – taxation by proportion of income rather than incrementally (and arbitrarily) staged levies on absolute amount”

          Trying to understand that – the “taxation by proportion of income” bit. Could you explain?

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I worded it poorly. Perhaps it would be simpler to outline a possible methodology. At present taxation is by bands which cut in at widely separated thresholds. It would obviously be fairer to simply tax everyone by the same percentage, and do away with the bands. There is an obvious downside to this. 1. Any single rate of tax sufficient to obtain the desired income would impact the lower-earner unfairly. He needs a higher proportion of his income simply to remain viable OTOH, this will appeal to fat cats since the more even spread of tax income could well lower the rate they pay.

            At the lower end, then, there needs to be a taper. At the upper end, there needs to be some constraint so as not to imperil investment in the UK (further). A single rate is not practicable. That is why we are still using an approach dating from the days of quill pens and parchment. But suppose the rate of taxation were simply a function of income? And suppose that function were a simple algebraic one. Suppose A earns the threshold income of (say) £10,000 and B earns £11,000. Currently they’re in the same basic tax band and pay 20%. Under Komodonomics, A would pay nothing, being at the threshold. B would pay f(x-t) * x. Here x is his gross income and t is the threshold income. (f(x) is shorthand for ‘do what you like to the contents of the bracket’)

            No bands, no steps, just a smooth curve corresponding to whatever the treasury beancounters decide the function f to be. And, nowadays, it’s as easy to calculate for the individual as, say pounds to kilograms, for which there are I guess 100,000 conversion sites on the internet. Plug your wage in, select UK tax, hit enter, and you’ll know.

            Not all functions go up and up indefinitely. Some achieve equilibrium at a certain value and rise no further. One such is the logistic equation, and this would be handy if you didn’t want to disincentivise high earners with high rates of tax, As I am pretty sure you wouldn’t, Habb.

            Finally, this could all be very comfortably accommodated in a system including negative income tax, which is currently getting some interest (no pun) as a partial or full alternative to state-funded benefits. The function for this would be the same function as before with different weighting : g(t-x), and would calculate the payment to the lowest-earner. Another plus here. The top-end taper on a logistical function would ensure that a maximum payment existed. This would relate to current DSS out-of work benefits, which would then be unneccessary. And all the evil scrounging chav benefit scrounger (we are all instructed to despise) has to do is to do some work, which will be negatively taxed until he reaches the threshold, and wihich will be no business of the DSS/Serco/anyone but HMRC.
            Well, you asked.
            I like it, anyway.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Erratum. For ‘logistic equation’ above please read ‘logistic function’ ( or ‘sigmoid function’ may be more familiar). There is a difference.

    • zero slogan hier

      triple lock and inflation rises are abandoned for a straight 2.5% rise in pension, the Conservatives are taking their gloves off now and starting to whittle away and are patching up what they perceive is possible.
      They can’t be trusted not to cut the number of soldiers, down from 74K to 69K, their defence strategy looks increasingly like they are doing the US some favours by buying some of the worst crap available, F 35’s and trident are just two of them.

      Their education policy is a runaway train of private education Ceo’s paying themselves whatever they like, a black hole created by them that is finished in Sweden disgraced and unworkable.
      Add to that their aspirations of ‘getting the best possible deal from the Brexit negotiations’, which turned into ‘walking away and talk of a hard brexit’, never mentioned in any of the referendum literature. Their plan is to wreck the EU whilst sidestepping it and wrecking any of the negotiations coming up, just as they have sidestepped the decision they took to support an EU MPCC, news that did not make this country, because it would have made BoJo and Fallon look like the limp d..s they really are.

    • D_Majestic

      ‘She has quite a job to do’. Mission impossible, I’d say. Still-it is not unknown for turkeys to vote for Christmas, and much more common for sheep to vote for sheepskin jackets.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    F(Fox)S…looks like a good analysis to me.

    And I guess IDS will rise from the political grave, too. You can’t keep a really incompetent fuckwit down.

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