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With great power, as Spider-Man’s Aunt May didn’t put it, comes great opportunity to shirk responsibility. It’s one law for the feral underclass, bundled into the all-night magistrates’ court for speedy and punitive sentencing; another for their feral overlords, dodging a £10 million tax bill with a handshake. For a while there it looked as if Liam Fox counted himself among the immune elite, clinging to office as the revelations of malfeasance kept on coming. But David Cameron and the so-called Thatcherite wing of the Tory Party, as if the prime minister weren’t a Thatcherite, must have reached a deal, and Fox has been flushed in favour of ‘the motorist’s friend’, Philip Hammond. Still, inappropriate as the unauthorised access to power that Fox gave to Adam Werritty may have been, it pales beside some of Tony Blair’s more unsavoury friendships, not to mention those of Blair’s Sardinian timeshare buddy, Silvio Berlusconi, who has just narrowly survived yet another confidence vote in the Italian Parliament. Fox was forced out not only because his offences were too severe for him to remain in office, but because he wasn’t powerful enough to get away with them.

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