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He's an accident waiting to happen

Nick Robinson | 20:22 UK time, Friday, 21 January 2011

That's what people warned David Cameron when he hired not just any former editor of a muck-raking tabloid, but one who'd resigned after his paper created a scandal all of its own.

Today some are saying "I told you so". Some are asking questions about David Cameron's judgement. The prime minister has, though, only one regret - that a man whose judgement he has come to depend on has felt it necessary to resign.

Andy Coulson's value to David Cameron was not only as a mere spin doctor, nor as just the link man to the powerful Murdoch Empire, but also as someone who connected him to those who read, rather than produced, tabloid newspapers.

The boy from Essex was willing to stand up and contradict the prime minister's other principal adviser Steve Hilton - king of the Notting Hill set of metropolitan, intellectual and wealthy friends.

Today's resignation was meant to separate David Cameron from the phone-hacking scandal.

It will also separate him from someone with an instinctive understanding of the world beyond Westminster.

If Andy Coulson's advice is not replaced that really could be an accident waiting to happen.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Mmm, problem for Cameron. He does need help in relating to people who aren't rich.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ed Miliband is questioning David Cameron's judgment over the allegations surrounding Coulson but I doubt that people will be taking about it in the pub tonight.

    If Coulson is found to be not guilty of any of the accusations made against him, do you support those who've hounded him out of his job?

  • Comment number 3.

    1 saga

    Mmm, problem for Cameron. He does need help in relating to people who aren't rich.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Don't go all Daily Mirror on us.

  • Comment number 4.

    A Westminster kerfuffle.

    Most people in the UK have more serious, immediate issues to concern them.

    There will not be any dancing in the streets. Nor will anyone cry into their beer.

    Spin doctors? Easy come, easy go, and who cares.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh do get over yourself - the only accident waiting to happen is between Miliband and Balls!

  • Comment number 7.

    The big question about Coulson is, Did He Know?
    He says Not, but if there is evidence that he Did, well then the PM will be sprayed with the resulting effluent. So I can see why he had to go.

  • Comment number 8.

    Some on here have even suggested that its all unfair about Coulson and everyone deserves a second chance. True, except he hasn’t been punished properly in the first place if it transpires he was involved in the phone hacking scandal.
    Personally though, I think he was suited to his job under Cameron,
    A chorus of unethical and dangerous morons all singing from the same hymn sheet.

  • Comment number 9.

    Coulson had to go when he 'became the story'.

    If Cameron values this fellow that much then he can afford to put him own his personal payroll as a special advisor, can't he?

    Only he won't because Cameron is yet another politician who has dipped into the public purse when required, for example, for trimming his ruddy wisteria.

    Virtually all of them were 'on-the-take', even those with money coming out of their ears.

    Somewhere along the line, the ethos of being a genuine public servant disappeared into the ether, a relic of a bygone age in England.

    It is desparately sad, but there it is.

  • Comment number 10.

    "Today`s resignation was meant to separate David Cameron from the phone tapping scandal"

    But will it as more detail emerges? Some fishing expeditions by N.O.W. journalists uncovered salacious details about minister`s private lives.
    John Prescott was successfully targeted.But Chris Bryant?, there must be others where the purposes was political rater than sexual.How was this information used? and to whom was it circulated?

    The powerful corporations which constitute the right wing press,News International,the Barclay brothers and Rothermere are not so much the third estate as a state within a state.

    The press as kingmaker!The Daily Mail swung the 1924 election for the Tories by publishing the forged Zinoviev letter.The use by "The Telegraph" of purloined discs on MPs expenses was more damaging to Labour than the conservatives because it discredited parliament, differential voting did the rest.

    Why did Mr.Coulson moved seamlessly from a News Internation editor under a cloud to the second most important job in the Tory party?
    What does he know that a lot of people tonight wished he didn`t?
    Of course,the answer is he was an Essex boy!But as Mr.Cameron knows,you can`t let Essex boys out of your sight.

  • Comment number 11.

    I used to like Andy Coulson when he used to write the showbiz column in the Sun in the 1990s. He left, went to become a tabloid editor, got into a bit of bother, and had to resign.

    Before Andy, I used to like Piers Morgan when he used to write the showbiz column in the Sun in the 1990s. He left, went to become a tabloid editor, got into a bit of bother, and had to resign.

    Piers has now done very nicely for himself.

    Now Andy's met another sticky end, what chances are there of him following in Piers footsteps, once again?

  • Comment number 12.

    So how many of these contributions actually come via conservative central office?

    This should have been a time of going onto the offensive for Cameron against the rise of Balls. Instead there is a nasty taint of deceit very close to the prime minister. Blair never really recovered from losing Campbell will Cameron take it is his stride or follow his model Blair into the political morass?

  • Comment number 13.

    The one thing about the coalition you can say is that their communications are chaotic - for example the awful press on the changes to the NHS, failure to get a clear case across on tuition fees, Vince Cable (damage limitation to be fair). Whatever Coulson's talents they were either well concealed or his advice was ignored. Cameron's judgement was faulty because it was known that the phone hacking issue was far from concluded and was like some rumbling volcano threatening to erupt at any time. It is entirely feasible that Coulson did not know that hacking was used but what evidence is there that he took steps to make it clear that such type of methods were unacceptable and define it as gross misconduct in the paper's disciplinary code (if it has one). Just how close to Coulson did the stain of knowledge reach I wonder.

  • Comment number 14.

    7. At 9:27pm on 21 Jan 2011, Cornishandy wrote:
    The big question about Coulson is, Did He Know?
    He says Not, but if there is evidence that he Did, well then the PM will be sprayed with the resulting effluent. So I can see why he had to go.

    Of course he knew. Otherwise he would be incompetent and we all (and Cameron) knows he's not that.

  • Comment number 15.

    The most interesting thing about this story is that the media thought it more interesting than Tony Blair having to answer for his decision to go to war. A former prime minister questioned about what some consider to be war crimes, versus a former newspaper editor questioned about invasion of celebrities' privacy - which is really more important?

  • Comment number 16.

    The only man to resign from two jobs for something he knew nothing about.

  • Comment number 17.

    Surely the question is that IF Coulson knew, did Cameron know and if Cameron ever knew or slightly believed the accusations to be true, his own position must now be under pressure too.

  • Comment number 18.

    8 lefty11

    Some on here have even suggested that its all unfair about Coulson and everyone deserves a second chance. True, except he hasn’t been punished properly in the first place if it transpires he was involved in the phone hacking scandal.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Innocent until proven guilty?

    The unfairness relates to the fact that he has always denied wrongdoing and the police have investigated the case and not found evidence to charge him with wrongdoing.

    He resigned from his job at the NOTW because he was in charge not because he did something wrong personally.

  • Comment number 19.

    Sounds like a pregnancy is on it's way. DCam lost all attachment to real world now. Oh Gosh. Sad really.
    Nick- saw news report - looks like time for Vit C again. And elderly Mum says 'wots 'is wife do-in whilst e's stood out there all night?' Little does she know....

  • Comment number 20.

    10 - oh Jeez, bryhers, just read what you write.

    A series of what ifs, maybes and cojectures with the occasional bit of irrelevant history.

    "These rumours surrounding the policeman guarding Mrs Johnson. I wonder if any Labour colleagues knew about them. If they did, I wonder why none of them leaked it to the press earlier? Maybe johnson had something even worse to hold over them? Harold Wilson was paranoid. Perhaps Miliband is paranoid. Perhaps he has reason to be. Oswald Mosley left the Conservatives and was later a Labour MP. Probably felt more comfortable with Labour. Who knows how many current Labour MPs will end up setting up their own fascist parties? The expenses candal did more harm to Labour, because more of them were at it. And because they're supposed to be 'in touch' with the ordinary man. Or are they. maybe they aren't? who knows. Labour are a family but are the milibands a family within a family? Unless they're adopted? Who can say? Flippity Di, Flippity dop, piddly pi, piddly pop?"

  • Comment number 21.

    17 JJ

    Surely the question is that IF Coulson knew, did Cameron know and if Cameron ever knew or slightly believed the accusations to be true, his own position must now be under pressure too

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I think the question is whether there is evidence of wrongdoing; if there is then charge the man, if there isn't then move on.

  • Comment number 22.

    AS71 @ 3

    Not sure about the Daily Mirror (except it's solid on horse racing) but I DO think Mr Cameron needs bridging to the "Real World". He went to Eton and then joined the Bullingdon Club at Oxford - did you know that? - this is not a background which makes for easy and genuine insight into the lives of the vast majority of the people he governs. Not really his fault, of course, and not an insurmountable problem, but a challenge nevertheless. I quite like him actually - David Cameron - seems a decent enough cove, I'd probably enjoy his company for an hour or two over something with mozzarella in, but this proves very little.

  • Comment number 23.

    "1. At 8:39pm on 21 Jan 2011, sagamix wrote:
    Mmm, problem for Cameron. He does need help in relating to people who aren't rich."

    Perhaps you could give him lessons on gurning at shop assistants and handing out muffins to malnourished children?

  • Comment number 24.

    Yet another big non-event. Mr Coulson resigns and we're all supposed to collapse into mindless analysis.

    He was a PR man - clever undoubtably, but hardly unique. He'll no doubt be replaced by an equally clever spokesperson. It really doesn't matter a jot!

    David Cameron is the issue. Is he better than his two recently departed predecessors or not? You decide.

    That's all there is to it.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    22 - oh for crying out loud, give it a rest saga. Do you think that there's some homogenous Omni-man out there populating the country? Who the hell could ever connect with everyone? You think the a labour voter in Glasgow is the same as one in Cardiff? Miliband? Comfortable middle-class upbringing with a university professor? Balls went to Oxford and Harvard, Jonson was a union leader, how's that help him relate to a self-employed electrician? The fact that you can't see that there is NO-ONE who could relate to the 'vast majority' of people in the UK shows how out of touch you are.

    The only person someone as smug and out of touch as yourself can truly relate to is the guy you see every morning in the mirror.

  • Comment number 27.

    IS NICK ADDICTED TO THE TORIES? I adapt Nick's main blog story title that festered for about 10 hours today on the BBC website, including for hours after Coulson's resignation. This is then followed by a feeble non-entry on the blog. Seems like when the government hits trouble or sleaze, then Nick goes missing. Or was he busy today? He hasn't been polishing up his CV to apply for Coulson's job has he??

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mmmm. I suppose Coulson was Cameron's Alistair Campbell. The trouble is, these people aren't just a link to the thinking of some working class voters, they also help create that thinking. This involves dumbing down, misinforming and fostering simplistic prejudice instead of encouraging understanding of complex issues. Thus they undermine democracy rather than contributing to it.

  • Comment number 31.

    22 saga

    He went to Eton and then joined the Bullingdon Club at Oxford - did you know that? - this is not a background which makes for easy and genuine insight into the lives of the vast majority of the people he governs. Not really his fault, of course, and not an insurmountable problem, but a challenge nevertheless.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    How is this different from the privileged background of say Harriet Harman, niece of Lord Longford?

  • Comment number 32.

    Perhaps Andy Coulson is genuinely innocent & is doing the honourable thing by quitting, thus taking unnecessary pressure off of the PM who – either way – has nothing to do with any phone tapping shenanigans?

    A bit Devil’s advocate I know, but where’s your spirit of “innocent until proved guilty” guys?

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    28. At 10:51pm on 21 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:
    "25. At 10:31pm on 21 Jan 2011, lefty11 wrote:
    20. c555
    Flippity Di, Flippity dop, piddly pi, piddly pop?"

    ===========================================

    Please forgive this intrusion - otherwise give me a good verbal kicking!

    You both obviously hold strong opinions, but you seem to be consumed by the need to score points. Whatever the other person says, you hold to your own beliefs. Cheap insults reflect upon yourself. If it is true to you, it is true - no matter what others think.

    You gain more from debate than you ever will from outright rejection.

    Now, tell me to mind my own business ...

  • Comment number 35.

    andy @ 26

    It's not my point, Andy - Cameron needing more help than most in relating to the average voter - it's Nick's point, indeed his blog subject. And I think, now I do think about it (Nick having forced me to), and subject to your totally valid caveat about how there's no such thing as the perfectly average voter, that it's perhaps true and Coulson probably did indeed supply some of this. Bet you the "makes me physically sick to contemplate letting prisoners vote" nonsense came from Coulson, for example. Which just goes to show how trying to relate to the average voter can lead one badly astray.

  • Comment number 36.

    "i see you are home alone, again"

    Your losing streak continues, I'm at work. Got a HNWI client, non-dom, he's been using a mixed fund account to remit funds to the UK so it's a heck of a job identifying the remittances. 31 Jan deadline looming for filing the reurn. Worth it though, his tax bill comes tumblng down, my fee goes shooting up.

    Everyone's a winner. Well, perhaps not you.

  • Comment number 37.

    . At 10:28pm on 21 Jan 2011, First Class Male wrote:
    "Yet another big non-event. Mr Coulson resigns and we're all supposed to collapse into mindless analysis.
    He was a PR man - clever undoubtably, but hardly unique. He'll no doubt be replaced by an equally clever spokesperson. It really doesn't matter a jot!
    David Cameron is the issue. Is he better than his two recently departed predecessors or not? You decide.
    That's all there is to it.

    It`s a big event because of its economic and political ramifications.No-one knows tonight where it will lead.It is fairly certain there was a police cover -up,who authorized it and why? What is the relationship between members of the political elite and the police? Neither you or I know,but however it unfolds it`s a major story because it impinges on police impartiality, judicial independence and the po9litical role of News International.

    They are all big players,this could become the political story of the new decade.



  • Comment number 38.

    71 @ 31

    Yes, Harman had to overcome the very challenge that Cameron now faces. He could learn a lot from her.

  • Comment number 39.

    FCM 24

    Think Dante`s inferni as a revolving gyratron with phone tappers,the Met,NOW,News International,David Cameron,Andy Coulson and Rupert Murdoch going round and round in ever decreasing circles until they disappear into Lord Ashcroft`s fundament.

  • Comment number 40.

    37 bryhers

    It is fairly certain there was a police cover -up,who authorized it and why?

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Probably the same people that bumped off Princess D, may I suggest that you send your thoughts to the Express?

  • Comment number 41.

    That (36) all sounds very deficit-increasing, Andy. Perhaps time to call it a night before gilt yields start rocketing.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nick, "Some are asking questions about David Cameron's judgement."

    Miliband couldn't wait to jump in and say Camerons judgement was suspect amongst many labour supporters and shadow ministers.

    Coulson has not been found to be in the wrong by any court, never charged with anything to date I believe.

    I seem to remember a certain Woolas being barred from parliament for lies by a court, appeal overturned by another court and yet was installed as a labour shadow minister. You couldn't make it up !

    Hypocrisy is a bye word for labour and some biased press, Macguire agrees with his pals at labour HQ and many others, including the bbc fail to remember this lack of judgement.

    Perhaps we can show both, bear in mind the positions of Coulson (a communications hired help found guilty of nothing) and Woolas a shadow minister (found guilty in a court of law).

  • Comment number 43.

    38 sagamix

    Yes, Harman had to overcome the very challenge that Cameron now faces. He could learn a lot from her.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Maybe borrow her stab-proof vest when he goes walkabout amongst the working-class?

  • Comment number 44.

    '12. At 9:36pm on 21 Jan 2011, stuart_indalo wrote:
    So how many of these contributions actually come via conservative central office?


    Interesting, if pointless question, as would one asking the same of any other interested 'party' trying to influence things covertly.

    Here's one of mine...

    Whilst at least this one is rocking the night away, how come so many threads on this blog kick off in the morning yet get 'closed for comments' within several hours, often around clocking off time?

    Rather seems more designed to serve those whose 'job' is politico-media infighting and may have access and time to engage during working hours, as opposed to the majority of the UK working population, who might have a thought or two, but also need to wait to get home.

    Hardly seems representative, really. But then, maybe that's the point.

  • Comment number 45.

    37. At 11:12pm on 21 Jan 2011, bryhers wrote

    '... They are all big players,this could become the political story of the new decade.'

    ====================================================

    Thanks for your reply.

    If I were David Cameron, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over this issue. My PR man has resigned and I've chosen a replacement - end of.

    Sure, the media will go into overdrive and develop various theories but, a week from now, it will be forgotten.

    That, surprisingly, is one of the benefits of 24/7 communication - there's always another crisis just around the corner.

    Yeah ... I know ... I'm a sad cynic!

  • Comment number 46.

    What I mean, AS, is that Harriet Harman has been quite successful in transcending her privileged background, it's not the first ... or second or third ... thing which springs to people's minds when they think of her. They're far more likely to associate her with being a woman in a man's world, with the equality agenda, with advances in health & safety etc. Cameron, however, seems stuck with this "Eton and Bullingdon" tag, it's like he's a Posh Boy in aspic. Most unfortunate. Maybe this will change - let us hope so.

  • Comment number 47.

    39. At 11:22pm on 21 Jan 2011, bryhers wrote:
    FCM 24

    'Think Dante`s inferni as a revolving gyratron with phone tappers,the Met,NOW,News International,David Cameron,Andy Coulson and Rupert Murdoch going round and round in ever decreasing circles until they disappear into Lord Ashcroft`s fundament.'

    =============================================================

    I see it! - and I can't help smiling. Shame on you.

  • Comment number 48.

    40. At 11:27pm on 21 Jan 2011, AS71 wrote:
    37 bryhers

    It is fairly certain there was a police cover -up,who authorized it and why?

    Probably the same people that bumped off Princess D, may I suggest that you send your thoughts to the Express?

    As much as you may like the investigation into phone tapping by the met to go away it refuses to do so.John Yates,Deputy acting commissioner has acknowledged there are still unanswered questions,the Crown prosecution Service is reviewing all the evidence held by the police,John Prescott is asking for a judicial review.

    Of the three now likely to take the stand over new allegations,,Edmondson,Hoare and Mulcaire,only the latter was interviewed by the police in their original investigation,implicitly supporting the idea there was one bad apple.

    As for the fantasies connected with the death of the princess,I leave those to you and the Egyptian.

  • Comment number 49.

    45 FCM

    "Sure, the media will go into overdrive and develop various theories but, a week from now, it will be forgotten."

    I will hold you to that.

  • Comment number 50.

    3 comments:

    1. Coulson was a talented spin doctor. Spin doctors are essential in modern politics which more than ever is about shaping and delivering the right message.

    2. I think we know he was talented because he managed to make Cameron almost electable and because Number 10 was so keen to hang on to him. It has been obvious for months that he would need to go but they tried to ignore it in the hope it would go away.

    3. Query if Coulson leaving and what may still be an ongoing saga of the NOW phone hacking 'scandal' will have ongoing ramifications for Murdoch and his BSkyB deal.


  • Comment number 51.

    David Cameron is trying to make out that Coulson is a victim, but this will not wash. This political stench will hang around the Tory party for months to come as more details come out and will prey on peoples minds regarding David Cameron’s judgement.
    Coulson was either inept and incompetent or corrupt. You can take your pick but it was just a matter of time before the drip drip drip effect took it's toll.
    David Cameron's judgement is certainly in question, and this will have an effect on the conservative government for sometime to come.

  • Comment number 52.

    David Cameron is trying to make out that Coulson is a victim, but this will not wash. This political stench will hang around the Tory party for months to come as more details come out and will prey on peoples minds regarding David Cameron’s judgement. See http://extranea.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 53.


    36. AndyC555
    yep, im thinking the bus conductor job maybe a loser. Heard it can herald long term negative results. Especially for the kids. lol

  • Comment number 54.

    34. First Class Male
    Its a free country. Although a good read through the back issues may lead to a discovery that holistic fence sitting is a tad uncomfortable and not justifiable as the best seat in the house :-)

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    #11
    Didn't Piers Morgan resign from the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror, after some photos, published in that paper, were found to be somewhat 'sexed-up'? I recall something about these being said to show british troops abusing prisoners in Iraq but actually were 'created' and shot in Cyprus.

    Or did I get that wrong?

    Is there something about Labour and sexing things up?

  • Comment number 57.

    Please re-read # 4 and #6 and then listen.

    The sound you hear is nails being hit on the head.

    This is a 'Westminster Village' story. The real world has a whole lot more with which to concern itself. It really is only the media folks that are bothered about who they have to go to for information or who is leaking to them. Most folks don't care. They are bothered about job security, job opportunities, rising prices and rising taxes and reduced services.

    Whatever the outcome of the Coulson story, it should no longer concern the government - they should get on with governing - and it shouldn't concern journalists - they should be focusing on real stories outside of the 'bubble'.

  • Comment number 58.

    #15
    Another nail hit on the head.

    Blair before Chilcott must surely rank as more worthy than the Coulson story? I saw the comment taht Nick Robinson was somewhere else but.............

    How many wars has Britain gone into is say, the last 10 years? Who was Prime Minister and of which party , at the time? I would have expected that this was much more worthy of the analysis of a senior correspondent.

  • Comment number 59.

    According to your analysis Ed Miliband can never hope to communicate with anyone other than the North London Jewish community. And you can never communicate with anyone who is not a fellow Labour apologist.

  • Comment number 60.

    "46. At 11:54pm on 21 Jan 2011, sagamix wrote:
    What I mean, AS, is that Harriet Harman has been quite successful in transcending her privileged background, it's not the first ... or second or third ... thing which springs to people's minds when they think of her."

    Can't deny that. There's her man-hating, PC-driven, "it's a male conspiracy", constantly being rejected idiotic policies that spring to mind first.

    Her background is probably not high on the list. You have to wonder why that is? She's not shown any sign of understanding this Omni-man you're obsessed about (stab vests & silly policies). Maybe it's because her political opponents focus on her policies NOW rather than the lame way opponents of Cameron go on and on and on and on and on and on and on about his background. May Harman's policies are easier to attacj than cameron's? That might explain things. Maybe if Cameron's policies were so weak, his opponents wouldn't NEED to focus on his education dcades ago. There's a thought.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    "34. At 11:09pm on 21 Jan 2011, First Class Male wrote:
    28. At 10:51pm on 21 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:
    "25. At 10:31pm on 21 Jan 2011, lefty11 wrote:


    Please forgive this intrusion - otherwise give me a good verbal kicking!"

    No, you have a point, it's mainly pointless political bantering. But then you get something like Lefty's post at 53. You see, unlike some on here I'm happy to give out a few background details, puts comments into perspective. I work as a tax advisor, for example. Lefty also knows my dad was a bus conductor and that he died about a year ago. So there he is at post 53 insulting my dead dad. Pretty cowardly and spiteful. I don't know anyone who'd sink that low. Do you?

  • Comment number 63.

    "56. At 04:29am on 22 Jan 2011, obritomf wrote:
    #11
    Didn't Piers Morgan resign from the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror after some photos, published in that paper, were found to be somewhat 'sexed-up'?"

    Yes, the usual amnesiac approach from the left. They're always quick to point out (for example) that the Daily Mail supported Oswald Mosley. It could be pointed out that that was decades ago and so what. Or it could just as easily be pointed out that the Daily Mirror also supported Mosley during that time as well.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    31. At 10:58pm on 21 Jan 2011, AS71 wrote:
    22 saga

    He went to Eton and then joined the Bullingdon Club at Oxford - did you know that? - this is not a background which makes for easy and genuine insight into the lives of the vast majority of the people he governs. Not really his fault, of course, and not an insurmountable problem, but a challenge nevertheless.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    How is this different from the privileged background of say Harriet Harman, niece of Lord Longford?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Govern?
    'Call me Dave' represents.
    It was New Labour that Governed - 'Call me Stalin'.

  • Comment number 66.

    57. At 04:38am on 22 Jan 2011, obritomf wrote:
    Please re-read # 4 and #6 and then listen.

    The sound you hear is nails being hit on the head.

    "This is a 'Westminster Village' story. The real world has a whole lot more with which to concern itself. It really is only the media folks that are bothered about who they have to go to for information or who is leaking to them. Most folks don't care. They are bothered about job security, job opportunities, rising prices and rising taxes and reduced services.
    Whatever the outcome of the Coulson story, it should no longer concern the government - they should get on with governing - and it shouldn't concern journalists - they should be focusing on real stories outside of the 'bubble'."

    I sometimes think that the original sin of the right is not the profit motive but complacency.It`s the Bourbon tendency of the relatively comfortable and established who ignore the shouting at the park gates until they`re sitting in the tumbril on their way to the Place La Revolution.

    It`s a failure of political imagination,the ability to see the interconnectedness of events and to form a picture of their possible course.

    Why is the Coulson resignation a big story? Because it pokes into the grubby heart of power relationships in Britain where money buys power through the control and dissemination of information.It has a cast of thousands,more than one newspaper is involved,there`s the Met,News International and its corporate ambitions,cover ups and lack of proper scrutiny,huge pay-offs to buy silence,journalists running scared and you think it`s unimportant!

    Sometimes stories are more powerful by their absence,today not one mainstream paper carried the story on its front page.It has legs, it`s not going away.





  • Comment number 67.

    Saga - you can't leave the class thing alone can you :)

    It doesn't seem to bother many people at all really, and as has been pointed out on many occasions all the parties have members who experienced private schooling and higher education; yet you are obsessed with Mr Cameron's upbringing

    I was always brought up to not pre-judge people based on assumption. You never really know what someone is like until you have met them - of course you can judge them on their actions (which is what we must do with MP's etc) but I wouldn't hold anyone's upbringing against them

    As far as Coulson goes - I think he did the right thing in stepping down. He should have gone sooner to be honest as the story does tend to detract from the real job in hand. I for one will reserve judgment on whether or not the allegations are true until after the investigation (innocent until proven guilty and all that nonsense....)

    And as for the conspiracy theorists - will it's amusing I suppose, but I can think of a lot more important stuff to cover up really! Reporters listening to voicemail isn't exactly handing over nuclear secrets is it?

    After all he's a PR man who can be replaced, although who will replace him is another matter.

    I believe that there should be no requirement for PR men in government - this all started with Tony Blair and is now the norm in politics. Or have we reached a state where people really are that stupid that they need media men to translate policy into something they can understand

    It's a sad state of affairs really....

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Sometimes stories are more powerful by their absence,today not one mainstream paper carried the story on its front page.It has legs, it`s not going away."

    What, not even the Daily Mirror?

    and I see you're still running that line about no-one really knowing what's happening or what might happening. No-one really knowing where it all might lead. Except you. And you're not telling.

  • Comment number 70.

    66 bryhers

    Why is the Coulson resignation a big story? Because it pokes into the grubby heart of power relationships in Britain where money buys power through the control and dissemination of information.It has a cast of thousands,more than one newspaper is involved,there`s the Met,News International and its corporate ambitions,cover ups and lack of proper scrutiny,huge pay-offs to buy silence,journalists running scared and you think it`s unimportant!

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Money buys power and influence? Who'd have thought it.

    The press use dodgy techniques sometimes to obtain information? Surely not.

    Have you any revelations about what bears do in woods?

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    70. At 10:09am on 22 Jan 2011, AS71 wrote:

    "Have you any revelations about what bears do in woods?"

    Re bryhers, it's not her fault. She watched 'The Godfather' and developed some very strange views about the Mafia voting Tory. From the latest paranoid offering, I can only assume the DVD was a double bill with 'All The President's Men'. God only knows what she'd start writing if she watched 'Roswell'.

  • Comment number 73.

    #70 AS71

    I heard a conspiracy theory that the Pope may actually be Catholic.......

    I know! I thought the same myself :)

  • Comment number 74.

    @65 up2snuff "It was New Labour that Governed - 'Call me Stalin'."

    I am sick of STUPID comments like this. According to Robert Conquest's "The Great Terror", under Stalin about 5% of the population of the Soviet Union were arrested, and half of them were executed. The terror was random. My mother's grandfather was arrested and shot in 1938, and her uncle was sent to the gulags in 1931.

    It cheapens the debate and insults those who died and suffered to make these ridiculous analogies. I suppose that saying "the last PM was a bit of a control freak", though true, just sounds too lame.

  • Comment number 75.

    Listening to the BBC this morning, it appears that the priceless sort of advice given by Coulson to Cameron, was not to go on holiday to Thailand whilst the rest of the country was freezing, if that is the level of advice needed by somebody so out of touch with the common people as David Cameron, I feel he could get the same advice from the policeman on the front door of number 10. This would avoid any dirty washing being carried in by the next candidate.

  • Comment number 76.

    46 saga

    What I mean, AS, is that Harriet Harman has been quite successful in transcending her privileged background, it's not the first ... or second or third ... thing which springs to people's minds when they think of her. They're far more likely to associate her with being a woman in a man's world, with the equality agenda, with advances in health & safety etc. Cameron, however, seems stuck with this "Eton and Bullingdon" tag, it's like he's a Posh Boy in aspic. Most unfortunate. Maybe this will change - let us hope so.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I think this reflects a hang-up of many on the left who can't see past the man's background. Yet you only have to remember the 2008 Crewe and Nantwich by-election to see how badly the "Tory Toffs" line plays with the general public.

  • Comment number 77.

    'Today some are saying "I told you so". Some are asking questions about David Cameron's judgement.'

    'Some' folk, eh?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349506/Left-wing-bias-Its-written-BBCs-DNA-says-Peter-Sissons.html

    'The increasing tendency for the BBC to interview its own reporters on air exacerbates this mindset. Instead of concentrating on interviewing the leading players in a story or spreading the net wide for a range of views, these days the BBC frequently chooses to use the time getting the thoughts of its own correspondents. It is a format intended to help clarify the facts, but which often invites the expression of opinion. When that happens, instead of hearing both sides of a story, the audience at home gets what is, in effect, the BBC’s view presented as fact.

    Now, let's read out 'some' viewers emails....

    At least here, mostly, they are not preselected, if still open to being edited.

  • Comment number 78.

    1 sagamix

    "Mmm, problem for Cameron. He does need help in relating to people who aren't rich."
    ===================================================

    I'm sure Andy Coulson was helpful to David Cameron, but I doubt very much that David Cameron is now as helpless as Nick Robinson, the BBC and posters such as yourself would like make out. After all he has 600 plus MP's who are supposed to be representing their consituents - rich or otherwise - and the entire civil service to support the governments activities, as well the tory party staff and activists. Are we really to believe the nonsense such as Nicks comments of :

    "The boy from Essex was willing to stand up and contradict the prime minister's other principal adviser Steve Hilton - king of the Notting Hill set of metropolitan, intellectual and wealthy friends."

    Will the government fall apart without him now ? I doubt it.

    It's not been Nicks finest week on here. Anyone would think that Ed Balls was still the chancellor, and that New Labour were still in power reading the nonsense being written on here. Despite the media going into meltdown, I doubt this will have any effect whatsoever on government policy, simply because Mr Balls isn't part of it! We are lead to believe that he has all the answers, but he had years to put his ideas into practice, and the results were shall we say less than successful.

    Still, this all gives sagamix etc the class card to play, and he feels comfortable and at home playing it, and such views are central to his thinking on many issues.



  • Comment number 79.

    Apologies: "The TImes","Independent" and "Guardian" Now carry ther headline.I either misheard the report yesterday evening or the headlines were changed.

  • Comment number 80.

    77 - An interesting read, one I wouldn't have seen without your link, thank you. Not maniacally critical of the BBC but illuminating. One could even call the writing balanced. Sissons' views, with reasoning and examples, a man who, as he said, worked at the BBC for 20 years.

    I fear though, that your efforts will have been wasted on some on here. I read all of the words of the article with an open mind. Some on here will read only two, with a completely closed mind: "Daily Mail".

  • Comment number 81.

    "79. At 10:55am on 22 Jan 2011, bryhers wrote:
    Apologies: "The TImes","Independent" and "Guardian" Now carry ther headline.I either misheard the report yesterday evening or the headlines were changed."

    Probably a conspiracy. You know, they read what you wrote and quickly changed their headlines to throw you off the scent. Don't let them put you off. Keep digging, you know Woodward and Bernstein would.

  • Comment number 82.

    So, according to Cameron, Coulson has "been punished twice for the same crime".

    Oh yes? What crime was that, Dave? And it sounds like you knew all about it...

  • Comment number 83.

    . At 10:09am on 22 Jan 2011, AS71 wrote:
    66 bryhers

    Why is the Coulson resignation a big story? Because it pokes into the grubby heart of power relationships in Britain where money buys power through the control and dissemination of information.It has a cast of thousands,more than one newspaper is involved,there`s the Met,News International and its corporate ambitions,cover ups and lack of proper scrutiny,huge pay-offs to buy silence,journalists running scared and you think it`s unimportant!

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Money buys power and influence? Who'd have thought it.
    The press use dodgy techniques sometimes to obtain information? Surely not.
    Have you any revelations about what bears do in woods?

    Your comments support in a more precise way than I can ever hope to do the complacency I was criticizing in my post.

    I think abuses of power should be revealed and punished.Phone tapping,the use of stolen discs,the whole paraphernalia of illegal surveillance is a threat to the rights of the individual,to democracy itself because it steadily and insidiously undermines the rule of law under the spurious banner of press freedom.

    I am more interested in the rights of individuals to be free from this kind of intrusion,bullying and harassment.Morality judges power.Power does not,and should never determine morality.

  • Comment number 84.

    Anyone notice this from December ?Mr Baldwin is known to be a close friend of Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former head of communications

    Hardly got a mention.

    Some people in a PRWeek article questioned Ed Milliband's judgment "...Another Labour source said: 'It's a little bit depressing that a politician [Ed Milliband] should think the solution to all their problems is to hire another journalist.'..."

  • Comment number 85.

    As someone who left New Labour as it moved rightwards, I must say I always disliked what people like Harriet Harman had become, especially compared with her idealistic start in the NCCL.

    The trouble is that her manner is sanctimonious and preachy, and this is very irritating considering some of the recent controversies she has been involved with. She is undoubtedly "out of touch" with a wide spectrum of British society, despite her representing a very challenging constituency.

    Mr Cameron is of course bound to be out of touch, not only because of his background and career entirely within the Westminster village, but also because his constituency is just about the most prosperous in the UK. At the moment he is governing in the interests of his own patrician class and its allies, no doubt having convinced himself that that is in the interests of the country.

    Last night I watched Michael Portillo's journey from Newcastle to Chester le Street. He concluded that he wished he had made this journey before he had entered public life. I grew up in the North-East, and there are places where Tories are hated for understandable, indeed justifiable, historical reasons. I wish I could take Mr Cameron on an incognito tour of some of the bits of Britain he clearly does not understand.

    It might or might not change his overall politics, but I'm sure it would change him as a human being.

  • Comment number 86.

    Why can we not save tax payers money and dispense with this position altogether. Please, No more spin and no more spin Doctors to be funded by the tax payer.

    DC remember all the Government cut backs? Here's one appointment we could all do without, without of course affecting front line services.


  • Comment number 87.

    #83 bryhers

    I am more interested in the rights of individuals to be free from this kind of intrusion,bullying and harassment.Morality judges power.Power does not,and should never determine morality.

    Morality judges power ? I've always thought political power is a social function. Not that there is any excuse for immorality in anyone but I don't see why politicians or their acolytes should be more prone to such judgment than the rest of us.

    Politicians tend to be spuriously judged on their morality. Over on the Gavin Hewitt blog, it's all about Silvio Berlusconio and a 17 year old dancer. There's a pseudo-morality to that but I don't know how relevant it is to Berlusconi's power.

    How is wealth an obstacle to the exercise of political power ? There's much sneering at David Cameron's money and 'The Bullingdon Club'. Is that immoral ? The criticisms seem to have a moral tone to them.

    Suppose it was to be said of a Prime Minister 'He's just some working class oik, he doesn't understand how things work at this level'. Would that be reasonable ?

  • Comment number 88.

    83. At 11:11am on 22 Jan 2011, bryhers wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------

    On Newsnight last night John Prescott and Andrew Neil were interviewed by Stephanie Flanders about phone tapping and the lack of prosecutions/action by the Met Police and the CPS. The News of the World is not the only news organisation in the cross hairs although NOTW seems to have embraced this activity with a greater degree of alacrity than others.

    But this practice was not the sole preserve of the media. Other organisations actually pioneered the "know how" to intercept mobile communications. I refer of course to our esteemed and honourable Security and Intelligence agencies (MI5 and MI6). When Princess Diana was alive there was a kerfuffle about phone tapping, MI6 and the tabloid press.

    I would suggest that the Met Police and the CPS would rather prosecute nobody than get tangled up with MI5 and MI6. I do not have proof but MI5 have previous when it comes to monitoring left wing politicians. Prescott appears to have a case but is he targetting the wrong culprit?

  • Comment number 89.

    Mighty Chewster:

    " believe that there should be no requirement for PR men in government - this all started with Tony Blair and is now the norm in politics. Or have we reached a state where people really are that stupid that they need media men to translate policy into something they can understand"

    Certainly not Clem Attlee,but Bernard Ingham springs to mind?

  • Comment number 90.

    "Whatever the outcome of the Coulson story, it should no longer concern the government - they should get on with governing - and it shouldn't concern journalists - they should be focusing on real stories outside of the 'bubble'."

    I always find it amusing on here that as soon as the Tories have a problem we get this "pass along, nothing to see here" attitude from their supporters. Bit like emu's burying their head in the sand to avoid trouble.

    Having worked in the media around the same time as Coulson was editor of the NoW I am still amazed to learn he did not know how these exclusives were being obtained. Even before his time the lawyers would be crawling all over every word and making stipulations to show that some occurrence or other was not a coincidence or one off and, that the sources were legitimate in order to avoid the paper being sued. Add to that a large number of invoices from a private investigator hired by one journalist that it now appears were being signed off without question and the whole thing appears very odd. Don't forget we are not talking about a twenty line, single column story on page 15, these were the lead exclusives, the kind of thing a keen journalist would want to be part of.

    Cameron said Coulson had "run the Downing Street press office in a professional and competent and good way". I am sure I am not the only person to wince when I heard Cameron say that because Coulson's defence is basically 'I didn't know what was happening around me'. Yet Cameron happily employed him. Did none of that inability to manage his staff come across in any discussions ? Surely there were other candidates for the job with less baggage though maybe none of them had worked for Murdoch.

    Of course if the police should find links between Coulson and the phone tapping then that also raises questions about what information he may have taken to his new job and brings further into question Cameron's support for him.

  • Comment number 91.

    '80. At 11:03am on 22 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:

    I fear though, that your efforts will have been wasted on some on here. I read all of the words of the article with an open mind. Some on here will read only two, with a completely closed mind: "Daily Mail".


    I simply yearn (vainly, I know) for a return to an age where the bearers of news were just that, and not committed to 'interpreting' stuff to aid narratives on top. Especially aided by preselected 'guests' or 'experts' who can be relied upon to enhance more than analyse objectively.

    Hence it has become necessary to consume one's information across a broad selection of sources, run that through a tribal agenda filter and then assess according to one's own instincts and values free of 'sources say', 'critics claim', 'a row has broken out' - where more often than not such editorial is the author applying their own prejudices, for professional rating or audience pleasing reasons, or personal desires to engineer things to suit beliefs from a position of influence.

    Understandable, possibly. Laudable... no.

    I find much of value in the Guardian. Equally some in the Mail. Especially if one focusses only one what is fact. In this case the only viable objection would be to accuse Mr. Sissons of mendacity or mistaken recollection. The medium is irrelevant. A valid critique may be that he only now shares these insights, but, again, the understandable if not admirable realities of career can impose compromises whilst employed. As to the Mail, well, one does wonder why audience ratings seem less appealing to those in high office when it suits, as one suspects the Guardian's readership is not quite as extensive or representative of the UK population (especially licence fee payers) to justify its status and representation.

    As the article suggests, that some restrict their sources of information to only those they wish to hear, much may be explained, if not excused.

    Especially as historical precedents suggest this can prove unfortunate. A massive, less than ideally accountable state broadcast system to the masses is a powerful tool. And not optimal if too 'unique'.

  • Comment number 92.

    87. At 12:10pm on 22 Jan 2011, Clive Hill wrote:
    #83 bryhers

    I am more interested in the rights of individuals to be free from this kind of intrusion,bullying and harassment.Morality judges power.Power does not,and should never determine morality.

    "Morality judges power ? I've always thought political power is a social function. Not that there is any excuse for immorality in anyone but I don't see why politicians or their acolytes should be more prone to such judgment than the rest of us.
    Politicians tend to be spuriously judged on their morality. Over on the Gavin Hewitt blog, it's all about Silvio Berlusconio and a 17 year old dancer. There's a pseudo-morality to that but I don't know how relevant it is to Berlusconi's power.
    How is wealth an obstacle to the exercise of political power ? There's much sneering at David Cameron's money and 'The Bullingdon Club'. Is that immoral ? The criticisms seem to have a moral tone to them.
    Suppose it was to be said of a Prime Minister 'He's just some working class oik, he doesn't understand how things work at this level'. Would that be reasonable ?"

    Politicians are more open to moral or legal judgement precisely because they are powerful.But not uniquely so,there are power centres which are political but outside formal politics.These would include major corporations,press and TV,trade unions and so on.

    Is wealth a disqualification for political office? Of course not,nor should it give the kind of access to political power we see among the sons of the corporate rich in Britain today.

    The wide disparities of wealth and power in Britain today is the looming agenda of radical politics.However you view them,right side up or upside down,these are questions of class inequality which has grown across the world as the market has become an increasingly dominant force.So much so,even the staid "Economist" has devoted this week`s issue to the problem.

  • Comment number 93.

    Class inhabits that (fairly wide) territory which lies between being the only issue and being a non-issue. It would be the only issue if Class drove everything (which it doesn't) and will become a non-issue when it ceases to have any impact at all; at which point, if you think about it, it no longer exists.

    Those who view everything through the prism of Class are misguided, as are those who can't see, or acknowledge, the degree of importance that it does (sadly) have.

    Problems CAN sometimes be solved by ignoring them - e.g. Lembit Opik - but I'm afraid this isn't one of them.

    It's the Blog topic anyway - the extent to which Cameron needed Coulson to tune him into Radio Normal.

    Having said that, I'm not a big fan of pandering to normal people so maybe I'll prefer the new Coulsonless Cameron to the old one. For example, maybe the thought of prisoners voting will no longer "make him feel physically sick" - a tacky grope for tabloid kudos if ever I've heard one.

  • Comment number 94.


    Some on here will read only two, with a completely closed mind: "Daily Mail".
    -------------------------
    Quality paper, the mail.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI

  • Comment number 95.

    Bryhers and Co.
    Some posts on here talk of Cameron (and Harriet Harman) being out of touch with reality. There may be something to that, however, I suggest that you folks also fall into that category when you insist that the Andy Coulson resignation is more important than the day to day challenges facing people in the UK or has 'legs' that will carry it on.

    The only 'legs' it will have are those that are provided by the Westminster Media village - so yes, it will likely continue to play on the TV news and in some newspapers but I doubt this will be the main topic of conversation at The Mechanics in Deptford or Bedlington Social.

  • Comment number 96.

    Tell me if these facts are wrong.

    Coulson was editor of the NOTW when one of its employees committed a crime, for which the employee was convicted.

    Coulson resigned from the NOTW citing reasons something like ' this shouldn't have happened on my watch'

    Coulson has been investigated by the Met and they (and/or the Crown Prosecution Service) decided that there was either no case to answer or that there was insufficient evidence.


    Anything incorrect in the foregoing??

    Seems like Coulson has moved on because instead of delivering the story to the press or through the politicians, he has become the story.

    Oh! A few further factoids to those of the left persuassion, to keep you occupied - just join the dots!

    Damian McBride - Downing Street - PR under Labour - Smears - dirty tricks

    Alistair Campbell - Iraq Dossier - up-sexing - 45 minutes - PR under Labour - smears - psychologically flawed

    Oh! and paid for by the UK taxpayer!

  • Comment number 97.

    "He's an accident waiting to happen" is the title of Nick Robinson's blog.

    As an ex-employee of News International, Andy Coulson knows the power of tapping into people's fears to sell. That's what Murdoch does every day across the world - either in print or via satellite? It makes money.

    That same money supports political parties and their elections - not just in Britain, but globally. Although there is nothing new about media manipulation throughout history - it's just today people are more savvy and are not prepared to tolerate insults of intelligence taken so far into the heart of government.

    Electors can scent deceit. In fact, they also see when noses are longer than theirs?

  • Comment number 98.

    By the way Nick, I would have to wonder how and by what means Andy Coulson has 'an instinctive understanding of the world beyond Westminster'

    Maybe if some of these politicos and the rest of their circus, AND the media, got out of Westminster and tootled around the country (maybe Like Potillo is doing) they might have a better understanding of the real issues.

    Oh and attending a weekend constituency surgery doesn't count. That is just changing one office for another.

  • Comment number 99.

    95. At 1:01pm on 22 Jan 2011, obritomf wrote:
    Bryhers and Co.
    "Some posts on here talk of Cameron (and Harriet Harman) being out of touch with reality. There may be something to that, however, I suggest that you folks also fall into that category when you insist that the Andy Coulson resignation is more important than the day to day challenges facing people in the UK or has 'legs' that will carry it on."

    You erect straw men so as to knock them down,why attribute attitudes to me which I don`t endorse.I have not suggested that the Coulson affair is more important to people than their day to day concerns.

    It is however important because of its ramifications.There are many political issues with no apparent relationship to people`s everyday lives which then turn round and bite them.The policy of appeasement in the thirties is one example,another is a failure to develop technical education in Britain comparable to Germany.Neither policy brought people out on the street,each has had a pervasive effect on people`s lives.


  • Comment number 100.

    "94. At 12:55pm on 22 Jan 2011, lefty11 wrote:

    Some on here will read only two, with a completely closed mind: "Daily Mail".
    -------------------------
    Quality paper, the mail.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI"

    Funny song.

    I was going to say don't think that I'm a supporter of the Daily Mail but then I realised I don't care what you think and sometimes doubt that you do at all.

    I don't read the Daily Mail, I was making the point that someone ought to read the Sissons article and take it at face value from someone who worked in the BBC rather than simply dismissing it just because of where it was printed. I wonder, though, whether that is just too big a concept for you to grasp.

 

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