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Daily View: Andy Coulson's resignation

Clare Spencer | 09:19 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

Andy Coulson


Commentators look at the resignation of former editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson as Downing Street director of communications amid phone hacking accusations.

Jackie Ashley argues in the Guardian that Andy Coulson's resignation should not be the end of the story:

"There should be no closure, no business as usual, no letting up. Because the practice of often illegal surveillance by hacking into phones, using eavesdropping technologies and stealing documents continues. This isn't just about Coulson, or the News of the World, or even News International. Many other newspapers have been doing the same."

Ian Burrell says in the Independent that Andy Coulson's resignation has got the whole of Fleet Street worried:

"News International's dogged insistence, over four years, that its phone-hackery was the work of a rogue reporter (jailed royal editor Clive Goodman) had held a line for other newspaper groups too. But now, first with the suspension of the senior News of the World executive Ian Edmondson and then with the departure of Mr Coulson, it feels as if the levee has been breached...
"What was being written off as an ideologically motivated spat now has the feel of something more significant. And media groups that had previously stood to one side of the issue, claiming it to be of little interest, might now be starting to sweat."

Max Hastings argues that the Financial Times that David Cameron should stop trying to get cosy with News International:

"Conspicuous even-handedness is the only wise course for a prime minister in dealing with media moguls, editors and journalists. He can and should have private contacts; but friendship is impossible because envy is endemic and his interests and theirs are not the same.
"During John Major's embattled leadership, I edited The Daily Telegraph. In a long private conversation at Downing Street, he complained bitterly about his alleged lack of support from the paper. I said: 'Prime minister, I understand how you feel, out there alone in the colosseum fighting wild beasts: you want us to get down there in the ring and help. But even if we wish you well, that's not our job.'
"Politicians govern and the media commentates. It is not the proper business of any newspaper or broadcast organisation either to make or break national leaders."

The political blogger Paul Staines says in Guido Fawkes' blog that the Downing street vacancy has to be filled by someone who understands television, not newspapers:

"It may not matter to the chattering class, but it does influence the voters more than they do. Most voters don't read the Guardian, they don't read the Indy, Times or Telegraph either. They watch television, which is why more people voted for the winner of X-factor than the government...
"Cameron and Clegg are better television performers than Miliband, if they want to exploit that they should hire a director of communications who understands televisual imagery. The media grid planning can be done by Downing Street drones a plenty and Osborne has a good grip on political strategy. Television requires a certain genius. If they want to win over the voters they need a political maestro equivalent to Simon Cowell or Roger Ailes."

The Daily Mail digs up some information on the man they say is bookies favourite to replace Andy Coulson:

"[Former] newspaper boss Ian Birrell, will not need to resort to any black arts to keep an eye on what Ed Miliband is up to. Birrell, whose eclectic circle of friends ranges from the Camerons to Damon Albarn of pop group Blur, lives next door to the Labour leader in the trendy North London suburb of Dartmouth Park."

Links in full

Jackie Ashley | Guardian | The Andy Coulson affair raises the question - who runs Britain?
Ian Burrell | Independent | What was written off as a spat now has the feel of being more significant
Max Hastings | Financial Times | Wanted: lion tamer to reset media relations
Paul Staines | Guido Fawkes' blog | Downing Street Vacancy : Television Image Maker Wanted
Daily Mail | Neighbour who's got Ed in a spin

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