As William Hague joined Sapper Matthew Westen on the Andrew Marr Show this past Remembrance Sunday the campaign aide he would later appoint as the third Special Adviser to Her Majesty’s Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary was giving a running commentary in an online chatroom.
Hague told Andrew Marr’s viewers that the Conservatives would, if they won the election, make the war in Afghanistan the government’s “single most urgent focus”. Hague solemnly thanked Sapper Westen for all he had done and all he had sacrificed in Afghanistan. Meanwhile at his keyboard Christopher Myers was online, tapping away chatting to his online friends:
“There was a chap on the the Marr show today, easily younger than me, who had lost his legs and one arm. I know that people sign up for the armed forces in the anticipation of conflict, and casualties are inevitable, but it’s all the harder to justify when it’s in the name of an unwinnable quagmire which is nothing more than a political folly.“
In public Hague was saying
“We’re here to make our own nation more secure and our allies more secure. We’re here really to try to make sure that Afghans can look after their own affairs and their own security in the future without Afghanistan presenting a danger to the rest of the world.”
In private that very same Remembrance Sunday, Chris Myers answered a chatroom friend in response to the question “What motivation do our soldiers of today have in Afghanistan?” candidly:
“Some vague notion that creating a stable state in Afghanistan, which the Soviets before us couldn’t do, will defeat global terror. It doesn’t exactly stand up to scrutiny – terror will always find a home and the major terror plots executed or foiled in the UK have all been home grown.”
In public Hague took the line “We regard progress in Afghanistan, and in the closely-related problems of Pakistan, as the single most urgent focus in foreign affairs for our work as a new government. Failure there would leave the world, ourselves included, much more open to terrorist attack.”
The dissonance between the line Hague gives to the public, and the line the close friend he would appoint as his Foreign Office Special Adviser gives his friends in private raises many questions, not the least of which being: Why did he appoint Myers?
Guido thinks we need to know:
- Did Mr Hague discuss with Mr Myers his views with regard to the government’s number one foreign policy priority before giving him the Special Advisers job in the FCO. If not, why not?
- Does the Foreign Secretary privately agree with his close aide that the war in Afghanistan is an “unwinnable quagmire”?
- Did Christopher Myers pass Developed Vetting before he was appointed to a position which would give him access to sensitive documents?
- If he passed Developed Vetting, why did it not pick up that he was politically unsuitable for the job he was given?
- Did Christopher Myers lie about his true feelings in order to secure the job, or were his views on British foreign policy known to Mr Hague?
More to follow…