Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours

by Stephen Tall on September 5, 2012

Nick Harvey’s had a tough week. On Tuesday his ministerial career was brought to an abrupt and surprising halt when Nick Clegg told him he was ‘trading’ his post of armed forces minister for a Lib Dem foothold in another department.

The North Devon MP has been a victim of his own success. So shrewdly has he overseen the Trident nuclear weapons review — the crunch defence decision which divides Lib Dems and Tories — that it is highly likely to produce more effective, better value deterrent options, with a final decision not needed until 2016, after the next election. We hear often enough about rewards for failure. Nick Harvey just encountered punishment for success.

So I can understand Nick Clegg feeling guilty. But it is nonetheless quite, quite wrong for Nick Harvey to have been offered a knighthood on his enforced retirement. It is an outrageous abuse of the patronage system which the Lib Dem leader so passionately denounced in the Commons on Monday when withdrawing his Bill to reform the House of Lords because of Tory and Labour opposition.

Last week, I named Tory MP Bernard Jenkin my ‘CentreForum Liberal Hero of the Week’ for his call for increased transparency and public confidence in the honours system. “We believe that no-one should be honoured for simply ‘doing the day job’, no matter what that job is,” said Mr Jenkin on behalf of the Commons’ Public Administration Committee. Damn straight.

Nick Harvey has done a sterling job at the defence department. For that he has my gratitude, and my sympathies at the manner of his departure. But he shouldn’t have been offered a knighthood, and Nick Clegg should have seen to it that no Lib Dem was implicated in anything as shabby as a reshuffle honours list.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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41 comments

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/0L0AQ9Rz

by Stephen Tall on September 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm. Reply #

RT @stephentall New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/rBjWwdzL

by HouseofTwitsLib on September 6, 2012 at 12:00 am. Reply #

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/tMyG7JR7

by Stephen Tall on September 6, 2012 at 2:50 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/YJfpDKwz

by HouseofTwitsLib on September 6, 2012 at 3:05 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall: Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/U3FEycSl

by Matthew Doye on September 6, 2012 at 3:51 am. Reply #

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/tMyG7JR7

by Stephen Harte on September 6, 2012 at 4:44 am. Reply #

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/eO0Vkq4B

by Stephen Tall on September 6, 2012 at 5:50 am. Reply #

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/eO0Vkq4B

by Nick Thornsby on September 6, 2012 at 5:57 am. Reply #

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/eO0Vkq4B

by Kat Dadswell on September 6, 2012 at 6:15 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/MaprTPCS

by HouseofTwitsLib on September 6, 2012 at 6:25 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/MWt69sXv

by House Of Twits on September 6, 2012 at 6:25 am. Reply #

Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/18f0sr2Q

by BexhillBattleLibDems on September 6, 2012 at 6:26 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/MWt69sXv

by Kallum McIntyre on September 6, 2012 at 6:26 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Sam Coates Times on September 6, 2012 at 6:26 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Stephen Tall on September 6, 2012 at 6:28 am. Reply #

New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/eO0Vkq4B

by Joe Taylor on September 6, 2012 at 6:31 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Nick Thornsby on September 6, 2012 at 6:32 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by libdemvoice on September 6, 2012 at 6:40 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by George Potter on September 6, 2012 at 6:43 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall New from me > Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/MaprTPCS

by George Potter on September 6, 2012 at 6:43 am. Reply #

'Sright > MT @SamCoatesTimes: LDV's @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey an "outrageous abuse of patronage" http://t.co/Px1DgcO0

by Alex Marsh on September 6, 2012 at 7:01 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Barry White on September 6, 2012 at 7:12 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Mark Platt on September 6, 2012 at 7:13 am. Reply #

'Sright > MT @SamCoatesTimes: LDV's @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey an "outrageous abuse of patronage" http://t.co/Px1DgcO0

by Stephen Tall on September 6, 2012 at 7:21 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Ted Jeory on September 6, 2012 at 7:36 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Caron Lindsay on September 6, 2012 at 8:13 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Alastair Campbell on September 6, 2012 at 8:46 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Julia Lockheart on September 6, 2012 at 8:47 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by smiling assassin on September 6, 2012 at 8:50 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Big Sister on September 6, 2012 at 8:51 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Stephen Tall on September 6, 2012 at 8:51 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Jude Brindley on September 6, 2012 at 8:59 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Mark Platt on September 6, 2012 at 9:03 am. Reply #

I agree with @stephentall: Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours http://t.co/zJcyVBPa

by Andrew on September 6, 2012 at 9:06 am. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by puri marroquin on September 6, 2012 at 9:09 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by denis kemp on September 6, 2012 at 9:29 am. Reply #

Lib Dems should have had no part in ‘Knights of the Long Knives’ reshuffle honours | Stephen Tall http://t.co/0XGhndhx via @stephentall

by Angie Pedley on September 6, 2012 at 9:41 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by R I Moore on September 6, 2012 at 11:52 am. Reply #

I'm going to add my voice to @stephentall's – Lib Dems should not accept honours for departing ministers. http://t.co/6EbjlXYj

by Thomas Donnelly on September 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm. Reply #

Lib Dem Voice @stephentall calls knighthood for Nick Harvey after losing jon an "outrageous abuse of patronage system" http://t.co/yQy3uoL0

by Neale Upstone on September 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm. Reply #

[…] remains the position, the same today as it was six months ago. As I wrote shortly after Nick Harvey was reshuffled out of Defence just a few weeks ago: The North Devon MP has been a victim of his own success. So shrewdly has he overseen the Trident […]

by Trident: it’s déjà vu all over again on October 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm. Reply #

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