'Coulson-gate'*: your LDV reader

by Stephen Tall on July 9, 2009

Plenty of coverage across the broadcast media and blogs today about the scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Media Group following today’s Guardian expose of their illegal activities. Plenty of coverage, too, of David Cameron’s top aide Andy Coulson, who edited the News of the World at the time it was hacking into phone lines. Here’s a handful of the posts I’ve spotted today on Lib Dem blogs:

What Do To About the Screws? (Alex Wilcock)

The Guardian has today broken a story that’s actually shocking. When there’s corruption in politics or journalism, it’s easy to affect being shocked, when actually you know that either it’s not that significant in the grand scheme of things, or you always assumed a bit of it went on, or both. The News of the Screws hacking into three thousand people’s phones with impunity – again, literally with impunity, as it appears that the legal authorities knew about it but, far from doling out punishment, helped cover it up – is a type and scale of law-breaking that left me open-mouthed.

Andy Coulson: Smoke and Mirrors (James Oates)

The problem is not whether or not Mr. Coulson knew about the settlement- the point is whether or not he knew about the phone hacking. The fact is that his denial of knowledge of the settlement is a classic example of misdirecting the media. There is considerable evidence that Mr. Coulson did in fact know that phone hacking was going on- and his statement is a “non-denial, denial”.

Rupert Murdoch: I liked it so much that I bought your country’s legal system (Mark Littlewood)

Murdoch himself doesn’t seem to be in The Guardian’s firing line. He now appears to be some form of weird Kaiser Soze mythical beast rather than a human being who is legally responsible for his – and his company’s – actions. Fortunately, Rupert Murdoch is an American citizen and our government has entered into an extradition arrangement with the United States whereby we speed up the judicial process.

News of the World scandal will harm David Cameron (Jonathan Calder)

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.

What would Cameron lose if Coulson went? (A Janus Face)

A former tabloid editor, Coulson is reputed to have been integral to broadening the appeal of the Conservative message, and has been particularly influential on crime and debt. How successful the Conservatives have been at this is open to debate – much of their popularity seems to draw from Labour’s inherent and growing weaknesses. However this is surely a crucial role for a Conservative Party which realistically needs to step up their game and fully capitalise on if they are to gain a sizable majority at the next election.

Andy Coulson will go – and soon (Mark Thompson)

The focus now seems to be on Mr Coulson’s position within the Conservative Party. He was editor of the NOTW at the time when some of the alleged actions took place and as Andrew Neil said on Newsnight last night “it beggars belief” that he was not aware of what was going on. It seems to me that must be right. Either he knew what was happening, or he had lots of out of control journalists working for him who pulled the wool over his eyes. I can’t imagine that someone who could be duped so easily could run communications for a large political party.

If I’ve missed your blog-post, apologies – please leave your link in the comments thread.

Liberal Conspiracy has a round-up of other blogs’ output HERE.

* You can’t let a good scandal suffix in silence. And, besides, ‘Phone-tapping-gate’ just hasn’t got a ring to it.

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This could be not dissimilar to Watergate, and only slightly less serious. If the director of communications for a political party which may soon form a government is tacitly involved in bugging the ‘phones from the MPs of other parties, amongst other people, then we have a situation where the next Government could be one that shows utter contempt for the rule of law and the privacy of its citizenry.

If there was ever an argument for electing a Liberal Democrat government surely this is it?

by Darren Reynolds on July 10, 2009 at 4:44 am. Reply #

I intended it as a joke (http://davenicebutknave.blogspot.com/2009/07/andy-coulson-has-my-confidence.html), but serious question: what are the odds that Coulson has revelations about Cameron, illegally obtained, and that this is how he has managed to acquire and keep the position he has.

Why not? If you’re spying on thousands of people, party leaders are an obvious choice.

by Joe Otten on July 10, 2009 at 9:25 am. Reply #

@Joe Otten: “…party leaders are an obvious choice.”

Exactly. Which is why all MPs should encrypt their e-mail. Now. If the Damien Green affair wasn’t enough, what more do they need now that the News of the World could be reading their correspondence?

by Niklas Smith on July 10, 2009 at 9:33 am. Reply #

Darren, wrong tense. Not “is” but “was”.

The best argument for electing a Lib Dem govt is our policies and nothing to do with other parties choice of personnel. Anything Coulson did was prior to joining the Tories so he is not like McBride.

Try reading up on a subject before commenting on it.


by Martin Kinsella on July 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm. Reply #

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