The Coulson Effect

I know everyone is busy blogging about the Irish crisis at the moment, and I’ll be doing the same a little later. But I thought I’d post something on a bit of negative news for Cameron that’s being quietly put out with the trash by the Conservatives.

It’s being trailed by number 10 that Andy Coulson will be stepping down as communications director in the next couple of weeks. The hope is that the Cameroons can distance themselves from the News of the World phone-tapping scandals with his removal, but it’s not likely to be as simple as that.

Up to now, there has been a report by Parliament’s media select committee, a further two Parliamentary enquiries, three court cases and an ongoing police investigation into the activities of the News of the World. Employees and owners of the newspaper are starting to talk. People are digging deeper. Even when Coulson has resigned, this scandal will still have legs and will continue to have an effect on Cameron for a long time to come.

Why will it affect Cameron? Well, there are two conclusions to be made about Coulson’s involvement in this phone hacking scandal. As things stand, Coulson is still denying all knowledge of any phone-tapping that took place under his editorship of the ‘paper. If this were true it means Coulson was too stupid to realise that thousands of illegal phone taps were being used to generate salacious gossip for his tabloid, and therefore is probably too stupid to be Downing Street’s communications director. The other conclusion is that if Coulson  is lying and actually knew about the illegal taps, then he was happily complicit in breaking the law, and has since lied about it to courts, police, parliament and public alike. As such, he’s not fit be Downing Street’s communications director.

No matter which way this pans out, we have to question the judgement and arrogance of Cameron and his inner circle in believing they could hire Coulson and keep him on through this scandal. It doesn’t reflect well at all on the Prime Minister and won’t disappear half as quickly as he would like it to. 

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