Bernard Gray seen as a procurement genius by Whitehall? Where the hell did you get that stunning bit of insight? As far as Whitehall is concerned, he is a political appointee who wrote several reports (with big holes in) before he got given the procurement job. A lot of people also forget that he, in conjunction with some rather expensive consultants, set up the procurement structure back in early 2000s. As defence projects take decades to wind their ways through the red tape, the fact that things are a mess now would perhaps indicate that his reforms were not as clever as he likes to make out...
As for blaming the current lot for less than adaptable carriers, the answer is sort of a 'no sh*t sherlock'. The current lot are being castigated for trying to change the requirement while the things are being built. If you wanted carriers capable of launching CV F35s, they should have made that decision a long time ago, changing it all back and chopping off large chunks of metal from the new carriers was bound to cost a fortune. That sort of revisionism is what got MOD into trouble in the first place.
Final point - there are only three full blown carrier nations in the world - Russia, France and the US (China does not count, not for several more years at least). However, there currently are an equivalent number of STOVL (India, Italy, US marines) and quite a few helicoper carrier (France, Italy, India, US marines, Russian, Australia and a few more I can't remember) around. Thus if you want to be interoperable, STOVL is actually more interoperable with other nations than carrier variant. If your carrier gets sunk, your STOVL can land on the decks of the other nations or in an emergency on the deck of a destroyer. Lose a CV carrier and if your jets cannot get to land they are all lost. As the Russians (and others) are making and selling supersonice ship killing missiles, and as the carrier is always the no.1 target... Maybe, just maybe being able to disperse your naval airforce on the assumption there is no such thing as a perfect defence, might be a good idea. It is not as if we have a hundred destroyers handy to protect carriers now is it?