Thursday, 20 October 2011


Imagine you are the Managing Director of a company that manufactures and sells cheese crackers. During the course of business you meet suppliers and customers, travelling overseas, identifying markets, negotiating deals, and so forth. For no apparent reason you decide to take an old friend of yours along to some of these meetings, cheese cracker conventions and the like. This friend of yours is not an employee of the company but he has his own business cards bearing the company logo claiming he's an 'adviser', and he spends a lot of time in your office. By a series of amazing coincidences he also turns up at other cheese cracker marketing events where you happen to be. Nobody really knows why he's there but your suppliers and customers can see you are 'close' so go along with it. It's all a bit unclear who is funding this frend of yours but he seems to have some kind of link to a shady organisation set up to promote Anglo/USA relations (whether concerned with crackers or not). Meanwhile, this friend of yours, who has absolutely no knowledge or experience of the cheese cracker business, has done nothing of any benefit to your company.
It wouldn't happen, would it? The other directors would be asking who is this fellow; the CEO would be wondering what's going on, and your shareholders would be puzzled. But to Liam Fox, former Secretary of State for Defence, the idea was quite unremarkable and he ignored all advice to the contrary. Crackers.

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