Miles Morgan, now living in retirement, has been a close friend of mine for many years. His verbatim account of Sidney Plumstone's momentous reprimand and ultimatum to the Head of the Civil Service, delivered with all the venom he could muster, is reproduced as follows:
"Your ignorance of these events defies belief. It is miraculous that the Scots have shown qualities of patience and wisdom which are clearly absent from your department. I will be restoring the Scottish Parliament as a matter of priority and I will never forgive those who destroyed the hopes and expectations of Scotland. Never!
"Terry Bright, Hugh Catering and Tom Spooner are broken men. Are you prepared to apologise to them and their families on behalf of the Civil Service? No - of course not! I doubt whether Whitehall protocol covers compassion and humility. Do you realise that this 'Inner Cadre' has been engaged in activities which, as far as I'm concerned, are treasonable offences? No - of course not! Did it ever occur to you that gross irregularities too numerous to mention were being carried out by these swine? Oh no, no: how could such distinguished officials even consider such devilry?
"You have a choice of two options. Either get rid of this scum - I don't care how you do it: I won't be going to their funerals - or else a full transcript of this recorded interview, together with evidence from the Inquiry will be circulated throughout the media, both here and abroad. I'm not going to give you a week to decide - you will present yourself here at this time tomorrow with a damage limitation plan. It had better be good, or God help you! Get out of my sight!
On 4th February, a humbled Sir Brian Ward spent over four hours in discussion with the Prime Minister in Downing Street. In fact, the former had been approached on several occasions by subordinates expressing concerns about this clique, but such being the climate of fear within the service, nobody dared to lodge formal complaints.
It was eventually decided that criminal prosecutions - including those for treason - against The Inner Cadre would not only be inevitably protracted, but would also have a devastating effect upon the already low morale within Whitehall. The Crown Prosecution Service would therefore not become involved. One of The Inner Cadre's minions was already serving a prison sentence and Sir Brian recalled with anxiety the shock-waves felt throughout the Civil Service when Paul Phillips was arrested.
By the end of April 2010, The Inner Cadre's footsteps no longer echoed through the corridors of Whitehall and Westminster. Each of the eight had been subjected to the full weight of the Civil Service's disciplinary procedures, and this time there had been no 'quiet words' to ensure that they were merely admonished. All were compulsorily retired, with their pensions reduced to Clerical Officer level. Vetting procedures throughout the service were tightened, as those who were appointed to replace the fallen discovered to their chagrin. Sir Brian Ward resigned on 24th May 2010.
Scotland's Parliament was restored in November 2010 with the SNP managing to attract thirty percent of the votes. The party's road to recovery was partly helped by newspaper revelations that the 2002 debâcle had been orchestrated by the publication of a document - subsequently proven to be an outrageous falsehood. The architects of that deceit had been exposed and removed from office: the bogus SNP politician who had written the 'Tartan Testimonial' had long-since disappeared ...
Sarah Arbuthnot, whose evidence was crucial to the investigation did not face disciplinary procedures. In January 2009, immediately following her impromptu yet momentous interview with the Prime Minister, she wrote a brief letter of resignation to Sir Brian Ward. By this time Miss Arbuthnot was in a 'safe house' with twenty-four hour surveillance and protection. Throughout the Inquiry, she was full of remorse for her role in the affairs of The Inner Cadre: it was clear to the investigating team that Miss Arbuthnot had joined the clique out of sincere, if misguided beliefs and later found herself in dangerous waters. It had been Dr. Allinson's drunken revelations that had forced her to call time on their activities. At the end of 2010, Miss Arbuthnot was caring for her elderly parents at their St. John's Wood residence.
My father suffered a heart attack in June 2011 immediately in the wake of my mother's death. Despite making a good recovery, he became prey to hypochondria and by the end of the year was living in virtual seclusion. Sir Jonothan did not encourage visitors, although being his only child he valued my company despite the infrequency of my visits. I had recently been promoted to Adjutant (Captain), 2nd Battalion Royal Western Counties Regiment, and thus my working life was very demanding: opportunities for extended leave were few and far between. Although my father had his eccentricities, he had been coping well at home and it was a great shock to me when, in March 2012, he was admitted to hospital following a diagnosis of deep depression.
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