Andy Coulson finally goes

Over the years we’ve covered Andy Coulson many times on this blog, over both his extremely high salary when working for the Tories (much higher than salaries levels Tories were criticising others for having) and also – more importantly – the phone hacking allegations.

Although yesterday he resigned, he is unlikely to depart the political stage quickly or quietly as the long queue of people at various stage of taking legal action over allegations of phone hacking mean the details of who did what and with whose knowledge will continue to be newsworthy for a good while yet.

The official Liberal Democrat reaction has been extremely bland, but Jonathan Calder has also blogged:

If this affair, as appears to be happening, now comes to centre on relations between the News International and the police then it could still turn into a huge scandal.

In any case, I can claim to be more prophetic than Guido Fawkes, who has always argued that Coulson would survive. Try a post from 11 December of last year:

“What has been a politically motivated attack by enemies of the Murdoch press was bound to fail without a smoking gun, however much they huffed and puffed.”

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  • Crikey – I agree with Andrew Tennant.

    It’s a huge blow to Cameron + the Tories. The Lib Dems will be tarred with his misdemeanours also unless the party comes up with something less bland than their Coalition-hugging attempt yesterday.

    The biggest shame of all is that Cable couldn’t keep hold of his brief to regulate Sky – a Murdoch-friendly legacy that Coulson will leave to the Country, and Jeremy Hunt.

  • “The Lib Dems will be tarred with his misdemeanours also”

    Sorry? Wasn’t the alleged wrongdoing taking place when Coulson was NotW editor, not when he was working for David Cameron/the government? Since Cameron was the one who hired him, what does it have to do with the Lib Dems?

  • “The Lib Dems will be tarred with his misdemeanours also”
    By association.

  • More evidence that Tony Blair is a very, very lucky politician. (Ed Miliband is turning out to be one too) Anyone who was adroit at news management should know that a current story that is a huge sensation, i.e. Coulson’s resignation, always overshadows and takes precedence over an earlier story, i.e. Blair’s involvement in the Iraq War. Blair’s masterly performance did not get the attention it deserved yesterday, neither did Ed Balls’ accession to the Shadow Cabinet, because the Tories lost their first important scalp. Great!

    By the way, when I worked as a journalist, years ago, whenever I presented my editor with my typed story, he would grill me as to its provenance: “How do you know this?” “Where did you get these facts from?” “Have you checked these facts?” and so on. How times must have changed.

  • There you are! I didn’t check my facts. Balls, of course, was already in the shadow Cabinet.

  • “Since Cameron was the one who hired him, what does it have to do with the Lib Dems?”

    Because he worked for the Coalition Government. It’s unfair, I don’t agree with it but it is the way it will pan out.

    There should have been more distance put between the Lib Dems and Coulson. I would have stated that this position was in the gift of the Prime Minister and that he was a choice of the Lib Dems. I also think that when the story started to escalate a senior Lib Dem in Government should have given a public “push” for him to go. (This may have happened but it didn’t make the press)

    Personally I believe there is a bigger issue here regarding political appointees in Government positions. There is no need for a Government Director of Communications to be a partisan spin doctor. I put him down there with Blairs attack dog (who also got an outing this week).

    Like the airbrusher in chief, he should have kept working for the Tory party and a civil servant used for Government comms.

  • I think everyone is over estimating the impact of Colston’s resignation. This doesn’t really resonate with the public, they don’t care who most of the cabinate are letalone who the behind the scenes press spokes man is.

    He didn’t wrire a dodgy dossier that took us in to a war or cause the death of a government scientist so his actual impact on anyone’s conciousness will be non-existant.

    They will probably not ever manage to pin anything on Colston, he will have been careful not to leave his finger prints on enough evidence for a prosecution to suceed.

  • To Mack

    You are absolutely right about Coulson. If he really didn’t know what was going on, he was an extremely incompetent editor. If he didn’t question where exclusive stories came from, what exactly did he do all day?

  • YouHaveNoIdea. 23rd Jan '11 - 10:38am

    The heart of the ‘Coulson resignation’ is trust. Across the tory led gorvenment trust and credibility is seriously up for question, lib dems are party to this not independent of it! At every turn ministers of the government twist, turn and squirm to justify or deny they ‘did this’ or ‘said that’ or campaigned on ‘this or that’! Coulson is just another individual operating at ‘executive’ level in this country who will say or do or deny most anything to keep is job as long as he might. Again witness Simon Hughes on Question Time or Clegg on the Marr Show within two days for example.

    It is time we have principled action again and trust and credibility restored to government of this country. Tory led coalition policies are so adrift from anyone party manifesto there exists no mandate for them. Restore trust and put your shared party policies to the electorate now and then finally you might be able to stop wingeing and bleating like children caught with their hands in the sweetie jar!

  • It’s a bit strange of LDs to ‘wish him well for the future’. Surely if he is guilty of what is alleged at the NoW, that’s the last thing that one should want?

  • MMmmmm
    Seems Clegg has yet again misjudged the mood (among his own party and the wider electorate) and has thrown his full support behind Coulson.

  • Sounds like a British Watergate to me. This isn’t going to go away that easily. Members of the Labour Party including Brown(when he was Chancellor) feel they might have been targeted and are asking the police to look into this. Who would have benefited from any information gleaned if this proves to be true?

  • Poppie's mum 23rd Jan '11 - 2:17pm

    If one had a leaning towards conspiracy theories or a vivid imagination, it would almost be possible to think of a scenario that may make a bunch of inconsequential politicians, from a small party, abandon some of the key policies that attracted millions of voters.

    Add into the scenario a media organisation that carries out sting and undercover operations on its targets, two men serving time for carrying out voice mail message hacking, and the man who presided over the newspaper concerned working at high level for a government and the reason for the small party to abandon its moral high ground and policies becomes more understanderable maybe.

  • Well maybe Andy Coulson was indirectly helpful to the Libdems, in that he is said to have supported the holding of those three pre-election debates. However, when things went wrong for Cameron and Clegg’s popularity soared he was quite prepared to use the basest tactics to derail the bandwagon by precipitating the perfect firestorm of accusations in the Daily Mail, Times and Telegraph, following a coordinated attack on the Independent reportedly coordinated by Paul Dacre, James Murdoch and Andy’s friend, Rebekah Wade.
    I suppose a bland statement of support has to be issued, but I don’t think all of Andy Coulson’s methods are to be admired. However, he had supposedly developed a good working relationship with the LibDem team, and if any of them are still in place at the next election, they will have hopefully learned something from his methods but with a little bit less of the jugular.

  • @ John Brace

    It was a long time ago and I worked for a relatively small newsroom on the old Fleet Street but my editor always held regular story conferences at which ideas for stories were put up and discussed and then, if acceptable were green lit. All the subs attended these conferences. My editor was aware of every story his journalists were on to. However, I may be very out of date, now.

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