Saturday, July 09, 2011

I said that Andy Coulson would damage David Cameron two years ago

A fair-minder reader writes: You have pointed out that David Cameron, Jenny Jones, Boris Johnson and Guido Fawkes all dismissed News International's phone-hacking as an insignificant issue. But were any more foresighted yourself?

Thank you, fair-minded reader. It happens that I wrote about the matter two years ago to the day. Here is some of what I wrote on 9 July 2009 under the headline News of the World scandal will harm David Cameron:
The BBC quotes a spokeswoman for David Cameron as saying he is "very relaxed" about the story:

"The ramping up of this story is ridiculous - this is about a payment made well after Andy [Coulson] left the News of the World," she said.

But this defence is laughable. The payment was made well after Coulson left the paper, but it was made because of the actions of News of the World journalists while he was editing it.

And as Andrew Neil explained on Newsnight yesterday evening, it is inconceivable that Coulson would not have quizzed his reporters about their methods when they came to him with big stories.

An editor has to be able to judge the truth of a story and how defensible it would be in court. The way the story was come by is central to both these questions.

The irony is that Cameron might well be better off without Coulson. The Conservatives made their come back precisely by ceasing to appeal to the baser instincts of Sun readers and courting the liberal middle class voters they have lost over the last two decades.

But if he insists on trying to hang on to Coulson, David Cameron's squeaky clean image could well be tarnished.
As it turned out Cameron did hang on to Coulson for another 18 months and now his image will be tarnished.

Mark Pack was also on the ball in February 2010. Meanwhile, Old Calder's Almanack also suggests that second favourites may be worth following at Goodwood.

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