David Blackburn

A question of judgement

A question of judgement
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Up until today, the Hague-Myers story was confined to scurrilous rumour on Guido’s blog and the occasional cautious article in the Telegraph or the Mail; the rest of the media were uninterested. But, as James notes, Hague’s two extraordinarily frank statements, particularly yesterday’s impassioned denial to ‘set the record straight’, have forced the issue into the mainstream political debate. The personal always becomes political. What of William Hague’s judgement?

John Redwood condemns Hague’s ‘poor judgement’ in personal matters before going on to cast aspersions on his policy judgements, particularly those relating to the EU. Iain Martin discusses Hague’s supposedly pro-Arabist sympathies: ‘Is Israel getting a fair hearing?’ he asks. Iain also suggests that Hague cannot replace Cameron in an emergency as a result of this affair. Writing at the New Statesman, Sholto Byrnes raises the political corpse of David Ashby, who resigned from a government in which Hague was serving when it emerged that he had shared a room with an aide. Ed Balls has argued that making such a bold statement lends credence to innuendo – in other words, Hague is not thinking clearly. (Also, it’s not sensible for an opposition politician to comment on matters such as these.)

Today, only Guido is pursuing the original story, claiming that Hague’s speech was ‘Aitken-esque’. The rest of the media limits itself to the above; although the Guardian debates Myers’ intellectual suitability for the job of SpAd, a job for which there are no qualifications - contacts, affability and a political brain are all that's required. So the story proceeds, but at a limp. Hague’s judgement has been wayward but yesterday’s statement was a masterstroke. Myers had resigned; the foreign secretary had to deny the unfounded rumours. He did and will comment no further. The story will now die unless facts replace innuendo.