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Loose ends for James Murdoch, Coulson’s vetting and Cameron’s false allegations re me

Posted on 21 July 2011 | 2:07pm

A few thoughts on some of the many loose ends still threatening to stifle the full truth or, perhaps, strangle some of the key players in the phone hacking scandal.

First, for James Murdoch – I am finding it very hard to understand how on Tuesday he could reveal his shock at learning that News International part paid the legal bills of a convicted felon, yet it was not until Wednesday that this arrangement was brought to an end. Let me see if I understand this properly – he thought it was wrong when first he learned of it, yet not wrong enough to terminate the arrangement. Odd. Certainly one for a follow up letter from the select committee, who should also press on the financial arrangements made with Andy Coulson when he left News International, and when he later went to work for the Tory Party.

Also for Mr Murdoch Jr – when he authorised the out of court settlement for PFA chairman Gordon Taylor, am I right in understanding that Mr Taylor had been the victim of a criminal not civil offence, and if so why was that not brought immediately to the attention of the police?

There are many more follow up questions the select committee may wish to ask, but those two are among the more obvious.

For Mr Cameron, who had yesterday promised to answer all and every question, there is the loose end of the exact nature of discussions he had with Mr Murdoch Sr and/or other News executives about the BSkyB deal.

But the one which seems to be exciting journalists today is the question of what vetting procedures Andy Coulson went through when he moved with Mr Cameron from  opposition to government. I fear there could be some unravelling ahead with regard to the current official line that Mr Coulson did not go through developed vetting because he did not need to attend key meetings and he did not need to see sensitive and secret material.

I am sure that when Mr Cameron became PM, the expectation among the waiting civil service would have been that the key people around him would have had access to key meetings and papers. So either someone – Mr Cameron or Mr Coulson- decided that the communications director should not be on that list of new faces to be put through developed vetting. It would be good, if this were so, to know the reasons. Or, the civil service – possibly encouraged by the Palace – decided that Mr Coulson should not have the access predecessors in the role had done.

Whichever it is, there was something very odd going on here. It would be wrong to say it would be impossible to do the job without access to sensitive material for which DV status is required. But it would certainly be a lot harder.

I suspect that in coming days journalists will quite easily be able to ferret out information to the effect that Mr Coulson had been at meetings and seen papers he was not, apparently, cleared to see.

Finally, to journalists and twitterers who have been asking if I have had a reply to my letter to the Cabinet Secretary asking for the government to produce any evidence to support the claim the Prime Minister made in the House yesterday that I falsified government documents, the answer is no. I have been assured there will be one, however.

Things can get very heated in the Commons, and things get said which shouldn’t be, but our system does depend on the public trusting ministers to tell the truth at the Despatch Box, and what Mr Cameron said is not true, and he knows it is not true.

I was approached by a man at St Pancras this lunchtime who put the situation rather well. He said Mr Cameron’s line on Coulson was that he was innocent until proven guilty, but that when it came to me, I was guilty despite having been proven innocent – by three separate and thorough inquiries into the allegations.

I have a lot of respect for anyone who puts their head above the parapet and goes high up in politics and despite our very different beliefs and values, that includes David Cameron, because I know what a tough job he has. But he cannot make statements like the one he made yesterday, under parliamentary privilege, and expect me just to sit there and take it.

That is why I will keep pressing for a reply, and the withdrawal of the false allegation he made, gleefully seized upon needless to say by, among others, a lowlife rewriter of history named Gilligan, who was rightly condemned by the same inquiries which cleared me. What Gilligan says is of little worth or value. The same cannot be said of the Prime Minister. What he says carries weight.

The Cabinet Office assures me they are working on a reply ‘with urgency’, so I hope the matter can be resolved today.

  • Vulak’Aerr

    “But the one which seems to be exciting journalists today is the question of what vetting procedures Andy Coulson went through when he moved with Mr Cameron from government to opposition”…

    That doesn’t seem quite right. Otherwise insightful as always. ūüôā

  • You might say “fuck Gilligan”.

    Except, of course, that you did.

    • MicheleB

      Nope, gilli screwed himself by fiddling with his handhelds. 

      No innuendo intended, none should be perceived or taken for granted, guilty parties will get lines.

  • I am glad that you took the step to ask for an explanation of the comment, and a retraction. At the time I just thought that no matter how heated things get in the Chamber you cannot rely on popular falsehoods to create convenient deflections from your own mistakes. When watching our PM yesterday I felt he was a man desperately trying to cling onto any semblance of credibility¬†or electoral confidence. Bottom line for me is that what he said could be put down to a gross error of misjudgement which, I’m sure, he will latterly come to regret – much like his employment of Mr Coulson.

  • Gillian C.

    Sorry to be probably off topic AC, haven’t had time to read your blog post yet, will do so after I’ve posted this comment though.

    That truly awful man Gilligan has written a very nasty blog post today on Telegraph blogs, so I’ve had to “deal with him”¬†not that that was any hardship for me!¬†

    AC, imo Gilligan is jealous and envious of you, because you are everything he will never ever be.¬† That’s not to say I’m blind to your “little faults and ocassional failings” AC, I’m not that sychophantic as an admirer of yours.¬† But I would support you against that odius prick Gilligan any day of the week.¬†

    I doubt my comment in reply to Gilligan will remain on the site for long, if he has anything to do with it! 

  • ambrosian

    My own view is that in paying the legal bills of a convicted criminal, NI were also buying his silence. For if there is one person who must know who commissioned the hacking and signed the cheques it must be Mr Mulcaire. He said yesterday that he is not ready to speak yet but will probably do so in due course. He will surely be summoned to the judicial inquiry anyway and have to give evidence under oath and now without the expensive legal advice that NI have been providing hitherto.

    I’m more puzzled by Cameron’s continuing refusal to name the company he hired to do checks on Coulson. I commented on this here previously. I,m glad some Labour MPs are now pursuing this. Why, despite all his claims of transparency, is the mere name of this company so sensitive? An MP asked yesterday if the company had ever donated money to the Tory party. Cameron said he wasn’t sure but would write to him about it. The whole issue of Coulson’s vetting is very strange indeed.

    I’m also puzzled by what seems to be a new constitutional concept of a “decision Minister”. So, the argument goes, Cameron could speak about BSkyB to NI executives so long as Cameron did not discuss it with the “decision Minister” Jeremy Hunt. Does this apply only to policies where a Minister has a quasi-judicial role? Phillip Hammond who has been¬†enunciating this doctrine seemed to imply it went wider than this and that all policies had a “decision Minister”. It matters because the Prime Minister is responsible for all Government policies and decisions and cannot hive off this responsibility to departmental “decision Ministers”. This is an aspect of the convention of “collective responsibility”. Someone in the Labour team needs to raise this with the Cabinet Secretary. At the same time, Labour should propose ending this farce of politicians having “quasi-judicial” powers in these situations.

    • BIBA

      “”Mr Mulcaire. He said yesterday that he is not ready to speak yet but will probably do so in due course.”” I would’ve been very careful Mulcaire airing this statement¬†publicly. It has been known for individuals to meet with¬†their maker under suspicious ways. Corruption seem to be rife in all levels of our Government

  • Robireland

    ‘Lowlife rewriter of history named Gilligan’ is beneath you, Mr Campbell. Wasn’t it the Hutton Inquiry which damned him and exonerated you? Hasn’t it been discredited as a whitewash by most neutrals?
    I admire your chutzpah going after Cameron on NI when you and TB spent so much time cuddling up to Rebekah.

    • tykejim

      It would be interesting to know who you regard as ‘neutral’ in this context, and your evidence for your statement about their opinion of Hutton.

    • ronnie

      Alastair Campbell has evidence that proves Gilligan is a rewriter of history. The difference is that no matter what ‘most neutrals’ would like to believe, they don’t have any evidence that Gilligan was right and Campbell was wrong because such evidence doesn’t exist. Hutton’s findings came purely out of the evidence and are therefore correct.

  • NickSmeggHead

    Is it true that NI were allegedly still paying Coulson while he was working for the Tories? Was he still paid by NI while working at 10 Downing street?

  • Sometimes I wonder how you keep up with all this but you do, and you do it well.

    The last loose end is the most personal to you so let’s hope the CO will soon provide a precisely worded reply, and that DC will retract his allegation, for that is what it was, heated debate or not.

    Are we to trust a PM who gets so heated in a speech, debate, discussion, argument, that words come out which are untrue? Who knows where he could be when that happens…the mind boggles and the trust falters.

    • ambrosian

      I would hope that Cameron would make a retraction and apology at the next PMQs in the Autumn in addition to an immediate one to AC, though I wouldn’t bet on it.
      Cameron can hardly pontificate about press ethics if he is going to smear people in this way in the Commons.

  • Stephen

    If Coulson attended meetings that he shouldn’t have, is that bad for Cameron? Or does a civil servant have to take the blame?

  • BIBA

    Alastair, I’m glad you have taken the initiative in questioning Cameron’s Statement during PM Question Time. This whole scandal and its coverup must be a priority should we the British Public want our intergity back. I do believe that only a few in our system are deeply involved, and hope that measures are taken to rectify them.
    Sincerely, BB 

  • Robert Shrimsley

    Alastair, interesting points. One thing that puzzled me about Cameron yesterday was why he wouldn’t answer the BSkyB questions. He’s good enough to know his evasiveness left the door open to more questions. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t say something to the effect of “I’m sure it must have come up but I’ve never met with a businessman who doesn’t use the opportunity to lobby me on behalf of his business interests.”

    Also question re Coulson security clearance is surely what arrangements were for other spads? If other political appointments got full vetting and he didn’t then it says something about what they thought would be found. If all got only light dusting and no access to Int documents then perhaps less remarkable.¬†

  • Anonymous

    thanks – has been changed ‘from opposition to govt’

  • Good for you Alastair,

    I am also pressing for replies – as to why, in the months after I first suggested on the interent that Ofsted should not be grading the quality of the provision of educational services above a high floor standard level, I became subject to extreme cyberharassment with signficant and very damaging real life offshoots.

    Another bizarre barrier put in my my way to understanding who was behind this today.  Strange old world.

    No Strap maybe.  No DV!!!!!!!  Definitely something up.

  • Patricia Shepherd

    I hope you get an apology AC ,this business of uttering lies in the commons seems to be a habit with the tories.

       Just saw an interesting article about coulson,

    • MicheleB

      From your link …

      The payout record shows the cash went to a
      recipient who used a pseudonym, the source said. Additional records
      collected during News International’s internal inquiry showed a total of
      around 120,000 pounds in similar payments were made to recipients
      identified by pseudonyms, according to the source.I’m L’ingOL

  • Robert

    It was the forensic examination of G’s electronic notebook that damned him – not the words of those who come after.

  • Mr E

    I think the most troubling thing about the questions and debate yesterday was Cameron’s opinion that he was doing really rather well, when to the layman he was floundering. As Mr Campbell tweeted, he IS peevish under pressure.

    I cannot remember another serving PM answering a question in the House with an exasperated and sarcastic sigh.

    I also found the questions from government back benchers hypocritical. It seemed they were taking turns, one would say that Labour shouldn’t be scoring opportunistic, party political points. The next one would try and throw mud at the Labour front bench implying that no party comes out of this looking good.

    I tweeted when this broke that Cameron had found himself on the side of the class bully just as the rest of the school simultaneously grew a pair.

    I suppose that you, Mr Campbell would have more idea about the difficulties a PM would face in trying to untangle himself from such cosy friendships with NI executives. The fact that he hasn’t might make one suspect that they have everything in place to compromise his integrity as and when the need arises.¬†


    • I also note how George often looks utterly bored by the whole thing – I know often they are struggling to hear (if only they’d all be quiet) but he has a really peevish air to him.

      Is it naive to wonder if actually having to serve the people has come as a shock to the young lads in charge now? Whereas the previous youngsters knew that’s what they were there for.

      It would all be laughable if not so downright serious.

  • Rapunzel

    When Cameron got to about the tenth question regarding what discussions he had with News Corp executives regarding the BSKYB bid, he cited the evidence given by Mrs Brooks to the Select Committee the previous day. In fact, their choice of language was almost identical. “No inappropriate …….”

    Do you suppose he watched all her evidence on his way back from Africa? Or did an advisor brief him on what she had said with reference to their various Christmas jollies? Or had they already decided between them what line to take, knowing they would both face questions on that particular subject?Just as Cameron  is hoping that Coulson did not lie to him, thereby threatening his judgment, he must also hope that Rebekah Brooks has a solid relationship with the truth. If any of her evidence is found wanting, that will put all her evidence into doubt.

    • My thoughts exactly re the term used by both of them. Smacks of planning which is either to be expected or to be suspected. We choose.

  • MicheleB

    I’m afraid that that Mail/Smellygraph/Times tart Andrew Pierce has also mentioned you AC, at about 5mins in to this programme (it won’t be on Listen Again till it’s ended).

  • Pam

    I am surprised you are not at the cricket at Lords this afternoon Mr Campbell…. with Charlie Whelan, Kevin Maguire and Ed Balls.

    Re “vetting”: ¬† Do MPs have to be vetted?

    When you receive your apology from Downing St. will you please publish it…..dream on.

  • Richard

    Please remind me of when TB placed himself at the disposal of Parliament for three hours answering questions from 20% of MPs? I cannot remember it happening, for example, after Iraq.

    Cameron was slippery over the question of the BSKYB bid, and looked foolish. He is too clever to have done so by mistake: it was more likely as  a distraction to lead his inquisitors away from some other more painful area of questioning.

    Can we expect you now to take legal action against Gilligan who is calling you a liar at every opportunity, and has no parliamentary protection?

    Did Cameron specify that he was re-accusing you re “sexing up”, or has he some other issue in mind? I hope you do not hold your breath for an answer today. We will miss you!!

    • Ehtch

      As slippery as a fresh shit? Is that is the phrase you were looking for, Richard?

  • ZintinW4

    Listening to David Cameron I can‚Äôt help being reminded of a Rowan Atkinson sketch from about 1981. In ‚ÄėMy Grandmother‚Äôs Parrot‚Äô Atkinson plays a headmaster reading back an essay to a pupil who got into a Private school with an essay about his Grandmothers Parrot. Every subsequent essay has the same refrain e.g What where the causes of WW1 ‚Äď answer ‚ÄúWW1 was caused by my Grandmother‚Äôs parrot‚Äô. Cameron is doing the same thing. Cuts in expenditure ‚Äď down to Labour; Murdoch‚Äôs excess ‚Äď down to Labour; the current wet weather ‚Äď down to Labour. There‚Äôs only so much of this nonsense that people can take before they realise that Cameron may well be able to talk the talk, but he can‚Äôt admit to his own Government‚Äôs flaws. He is indeed, an ex-author of my Grandmother‚Äôs parrot, who‚Äôs excuses have ceased to be, are no more, etc

  • MicheleB

    Yet another R4 programme that’s so relevant this week, this one about how endemic hacking is :


    I can’t help still loving R4, even though I hated it for weeks following Grubby Gilligan’s off the cuff crap and Humphries/Dyke/Liddle acting like carefree ingenue teenyboppers for all those months afterwards, they spoiled my Summer begorra !!

    I do think it’s time they realised that with certain hacks (per my last post) they should not do live conversation, it’s starting to seem as if they know what WILL happen and despite their shaming of recent years they’ll still take the risk.¬† Taped convos and payment only for what is broadcast-able.

  • Anonymous

    Alistair, as there now seems to be a sort of lull in this scandal, following yesterday’s commons discussion with the prime Minister, I am interested in your appraisal of how the Liberal Democrats have performed… or not as the case may be.

    You have highlighted that the Chancellor has been very quiet recently, but the same also seems to be true of quite a few cabinet ministers of all political persuasions, including Vince Cable. Personally, I am not quite sure how to judge the Lib Dem performance as their voice does not seem to have travelled very far. I am also starting to wonder if the Government have used this scandal as an opportunity to hide bad news.

    If you have a few moments i would appreciate your thoughts.

  • MicheleB

    This post is so wannabe cloak and dagger and tied up in its own knots I wonder if you would like to put it in English for the more straightforward of us?

    Thanks awfully in advance.

  • MicheleB

    I just took a look at the Smellygraph’s blogs, first time in nearly a year I think and nothing’s changed.

    There is NO point in posting or looking there for what might or might not be being posted.¬† Gilligan has been outed for posting in ‘support’ of himself with another ID (just one?) and the plethora of sycophantic ‘Recommends’ is evidence only of gang mentality and unthinking licking.

    There is even less point in being bothered that he still considers himself defensible even if one should admire the effort it must have taken to register numerous times to lick himself.

    He has been trashed by Hutton, he has been dropped by any reputable media organisation, his aura is that of a slavering slob git that needs a bib.

    Do we ever need to see his name in print again?

    Oooooh the haze, Conrad someone …… how does the rag carry on?

  • Ehtch

    Alastair, it was not only you that was being used and abused by Cameron as a smoke screen for his own failings – Blair, the member for Kirkcaldie and Cowdenbeath (Gordon Brown), and many others, and even the ship’s cat it seems were used in a slightly unpleasant and nauseating way by Dave. Take it on the chin son, but yes, the reply from the cabinet office will be super-interesting for all of us.

    By the way, landlubbers, ones that have not experienced sea-legs, this is a ship’s cat, sometimes used as an excuse in old times why a ship went down….'s_cat

  • Ehtch

    Yes – how does he do it? Alastair was in York the other day at a school, giving a presentation that seems to have gone down well with the kiddies, as described here in this article,

  • Ehtch

    Certainly looks like it, no matter how much smoke and mirrors are put up by No.10 and the tory party.

    As has been mentioned, how was required checks for the position level was not done to find out that Coulson was fit for purpose is totally baffling.

  • Ehtch

    Thanks for the link, and the Bob Geldof one from the other day. Pierce does come across as Gilliganesque. Years ago Gilligan made the BBC look like total amateurs, let alone Radio 4, trying to be tabloidesque(!), and failing.

    The only thing that gets me about Radio 4 is that it tends to be waffling. Some discussion programmes on independent radio seem more hard hitting, like George Galloway on talkradio. (I think that’s the name of the channel – I just enter the freeview channel number and listen)

  • Richard

    If you cauld not understand it last night, perhaps after a lie in and a black coffee this morning you will.

  • Ehtch

    By the way, MicheleB, did you see the first episode of six of “The Hour” on beeb telly? Saw it last night, after initially thinking it was just another bit of beeb self-indulgent fluff. Set in about 1957.

    But blimey, I was wrong. But the stabbing scene on the underground and that blonde young girl hanging herself really disturbed me – I am a sensitive man to that sort of thing, and had to turn away, even though Pulp Fiction and the Texas Chainsaw Masacure never made me not keep my tea down. But that was the US.

    Anyway, look forward to the rest of the episodes, but the last scene, jesus, has disturbed me. Points of View must be overloaded from Tunbridge Wells as we speak!

  • Ehtch

    Just to keep the pressure up on Nicky Clegg –¬†I am on his case – why he didn’t back Labour after the last GE, even if we had to have another¬†GE last October. Don’t get me wrong, I like the bloke, but to see him fall in front of the torys in praise was a nail in my heart, and no doubt for his mom,

  • Chris lancashire

    You don’t think you might just be getting a little bit obsessive do you?

  • Primrose Hillbilly

    when are you going to sue Andrew Gilligan for defamation? He’s posted stuff that claims you altered and influenced documents and reports to make people believe that Iraq had WMD, so as to strengthen the case for the invasion. He’s also said “Come and Get Me”.
    Did you, Al?
    Will the Chilcot Enquiry conclude¬†that you bent the truth by bending John Scarlett’s ear so much?
    Gilligan has either perpetrated a foul slander on you, or you don’t believe you can clear your name – so what he said could be beleived to be true.
    Did you over step the line?
    Did you bend and abuse the truth round so far it became a tissue of lies?
    Well, did you, Al?

    Does Gilligan have a point?

  • MicheleB

    Aaaaaaghhhhh I can feel the tumbler moving and hear Hitchcock barking

    ‘Who wrote this crap?’


  • MicheleB

    Was that an attempted slur on me Richard?¬† If yes, perhaps you’ll retract it and if not you’ll be more careful in future?Look at your last paragraph that I was remarking on ‘man’, it’s as insane as the drama queen’s hillybilly’s is.

  • The more I think about it the more I think this security clearance thing is crucial.¬† Coulson will have had access to stuff he shouldn’t have seen.¬† Cameron would have known.¬† Unless a chain of responsibility is set up which clearly somehow bypasses Cameron he’s culpable.

    I thing you’ve got something very significant here.¬† But it will need time to evolved.¬† The general public doesn’t know how common DV clearance is and how significant this lapse is.¬†

    I think most people wouldn’t yet know that you can actually get DV clearance even if you’ve got a current criminal record.¬† You don’t have to be a saint to get it.¬† But you do have to be credible with regard to security……

    I think some effort needs to be put into communicating an understanding of DV to the general public.¬† For example it would be useful to have a figure for how many people are DV cleared.¬† That would generate a conscious awareness that this is not a super-select status.¬† Put that with Coulson’s predecessor and successor both being required to have it and some evidence that he will have been party to stuff which required it….. and Cameron’s human comments about trusting someone fall apart.¬† You may trust them on a personal level but not to the extent that you give them access to stuff they are not cleared for.¬† That’s not human, that’s illegal.

  • MicheleB

    Yes I loved ‘The Hour’ Aitch and as you say, the hanging was awful.

    Can’t say I’m wild about shock jocking, I go quite often to recordings of comedy/news programmes that are unscripted but they go out a day afterwards so I suppose they ensure they’re within libel lines or language bans (which they might not have been during the recording :-).

    I had lifelong friends over from India during the time that R4 News were playing and re-playing the slavering Slackjaw Gilli’s ‘scoop’ in every news headline and while R4 News might have been trying to make the case that Govt officials had been flippant, all they did was convince the world their editors were.

  • MicheleB

    I’ve thought similar myself CL and think AC’s anguish is feeding his trolls,¬† but having experience of a horrendous accusation once myself I know how totally painful it is.

    I would imagine AC’s concerns are quadrupled by concern for what his children might have to face and that makes the drippings from Slackjaw and Pierce et al even more disgusting.

  • Olli Issakainen

    According to Reuters evidence from Scotland Yard has confirmed that Andy Coulson knew about the bribes given by News International journalists to the Metropolitan Police.
    Ex-NoW editor Colin Myler and legal executive Tom Crone say that James Murdoch was informed of “for Neville” email in Gordon Taylor¬īs settlement.
    Coulson¬īs limited clearance odd.
    Former NoW executive now sacked from the Sun.
    We have not seen the end of this yet.
    As for the UK economy, OECD says that it is at “near standstill”. Growth for 2011 will be just 1.3%. Finland will grow 3.7%.

    Ps. It will be Italy which finally causes the crash in Europe.

  • Janiete

    Clearly the hacking and other questionable practices were not confined to News International but it is hard not to draw the conclusion that the gutter press culture was led by Murdoch and News Corp.

    Will we in time draw similar conclusions about the Conservative Party in government and their willingness to abandon decency and truth? Parliamentary privelege exists for good reason but was surely not intended to allow MPs (Louise Mensch about Piers Morgan) or David Cameron (about Alastair Campbell) to utter blatant untruths to achieve some short term notoriety or to score a cheap political point. 

    Has Cameron dragged the high office of Prime Minister and parliamentary standards into the gutter?

  • Robert

    This game of who’ll play who in the upcoming Hackgate film…..surely Philip Seymour Hoffman will play Tom Watson – a given after his role in Charlie Wilson’s War.

  • Ehtch

    I have been shock jocked with that last scene – I have suddenly got PTSD from watching a beeb program! Who would have thought it? But there was that mega hot chipfat drowning on Spooks. Oh jesus, ….. DOCTOR!!!

    (PTSD = post traumatic stress disorder, for those that have comfortable lives, and spend their time supping cups of earl grey all day)

  • Primrose Hillbilly

    Don’t get so worked up, Micky, otherwise people will start¬† thinking you’re nothing but an apologist for – and slavish supporter of¬†Big Al, whom we all adore.

    It should be a fairy straightforward exercise.

    Al uses his contacts, finds a solictor and Barrister defamation specialising combo that are prepared to take the case on on a “no win no fee” basis – you can do it for all sorts of litigation nowadays – and gets on with it in the High Court.

    What;s that chap’s name who gave such good advice before¬†– Goldsmith?

    During the prior to trial discussions with his legal team, he will be able to provide adequate proof that he didn’t do what is alleged by Gilligan, such that our learned friends¬†are prepared to put their money where their mouth is in return for a good uplift in their win bonus enhanced fees when they win – as they surely will, surely?
    Then, all that’s left is for¬†Big Al to¬†donate the award to his favourite charities, and off we go.

    That’s not too complicated a scenario for you, is it?

    C’mon, Al. Make it happen !!!!

    • MicheleB

      Not slavish at all Perry but do keep on with the entertainment

      What brought you to the blog today?  Linked by Sloppychops perhaps?

    • MicheleB

      Didn’t a certain silly billy use to live in Primrose Hill?

      Before he lost so much and remains incapable of accepting fault for?

      Faked his CV (its references) when applying for a Govt role?

      Described here as not up to the pressure placed on him:    

      …………… his first interview of the morning at 6.07 in the morning, he used phrases which he didn’t use subsequently.

      Silly billy

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, I could see all through the episode that she was going to try and top herself, but I was expecting for her to go on the overdose of pills route, as you do, not hang yourself from a shower curtain! BBC SHOCK JOCKS! Would have expected her to go on the top floor of her hotel and jump off first. BUT, was she murdered onto the shower curtain? Ah-hah? But the shove out the window would have been the first choice for any establishment murder, surely?

  • Krissie

    Cameron probably thought he was being clever by bringing up Iraq.  Under our awful leader Ed Miliband we are supposed to think that Iraq was a mistake and Cameron may have thought that he could bring the subject up without any fear of us answering back and standing up for TB and AC.

  • Ehtch

    Go for it Jude Law, with his new mates, the FBI, Ahem!

  • Ehtch

    More for Clegg, and Dave too, to be inclusive, on our country that is one, Britain that is, for three hundred years, soundtrack from a scottish based film, with Michael Caine(!),

    I’m off on holiday.¬† Have fun.

  • Richard

    Calm down dear, you must be very tired.

    My final paragraph does not require any elaboration but for your benefit : I was advising AC not to hold his breath waiting for   a reply from the cabinet office, for if he did he would die and we would miss him. (Implying that no such response will come quickly from the cabinet office.) Geddit?

    You have made 10 postings on this blog in the last 24 hours or so, the last one overnight being at 2am this morning. It is nearly the weekend and you should get some rest.

    If any other cap fits, wear it

  • MicheleB

    I doubt Cameron has the manners to put his abuse of privilege right before disappearing.  

    You just aren’t among his ‘one of us’ AC.

    Contrary to what some politicians like to claim, not every right automatically implies a balancing responsibility or restraint.

  • Stevedig

    DC won’t repeat the allegation without the cloak of Parliamentary privilege. It’s the same technique as with the Ashcroft/Baldwin allegations – throwing mud in the air in the heat of battle and then retreating in silence. I found it hilarious that some Tory MPs seemed to feel that tax-dodger Lord Ashcroft was the most important victim in this whole affair.

    I think the PM has mixed up the plot from ‘In The Loop’ with reality.

    BTW – Ignore Gilligan, he’s become increasingly irrelevant. Telegraph readers are NUTTERS. Check out their comments posts if in doubt. (EVERY discussion quickly descends into rabid Islamophobia, Europhobia, and blaming ‘so-called human rights’)

    In the absence of any decent political satire on TV (until The Thick Of It returns)
    I get most of my belly laughs reading the Terrorgraph comments threads – they really are hilarious but in a deeply frightening way!

  • Ehtch

    Good comment, but you could have put it across in a less pedantic manner?

    Oh, I can hear Monty Python cry now “Oh Lord, I am suffering a pedant”. But there is no jesus cure for that, pal.

  • Ehtch

    Oslo bombing.

    I have a very bad feeling about this, since no one would want to bomb Oslo, except……¬† Norway has got quite a bit of an efficient oil and gas industry, hasn’t it, and it is said it is starting to grow connections to Scotland if they vote for independence? And more diversion for News Corp and Cameron’s Tory party too, you could say.

    Let the conspiracies start.

  • Primrose Hillbilly


    no one forces me off the hill, but you can try if you want. Mwaaah, Mwaaah. Love yooooooooooooooo !!!!!

    See you at Limonia. I’ll pay.

    As regards my visit to the temple of Big Al, well, I just thought I’d look in, shine a little light around, see how he’s doing, help him ahead of Chilcot, and give a bit of free advice as to how to help clear his name.

    Let’s face it, anyone who has an alternative view to that of Al and of how he submits the truth must be put down, right?

    I note you don’t want to volunteer an opinion on how Al would win his defamation case, on which I ahe offered very good and free advice, but he will forgive you for your lapse. Big All has a heart the size of a house.

    – You got anythng meaningful lined up for the weekend?

    Write soon.

  • MicheleB

    I’m not sure you should rely so much on the post timings Richard.

    I don’t think I was posting at 2am but if I had been so what?¬† I could be a shift worker skiving off or on break time.¬† I could be insomniac ((‘m not but that’s irrelevant).¬† I could even be someone that liaises with the USA as well as the Far East, just imagine Richard, ’tis the internet and business is not GMT 9-5 any more.

    Try to broaden your mind pet.

  • Gilliebc

    “Does Gilligan have a point”

    You must be joking Primrose!¬† I don’t think there has ever been such a pointless person as him.¬† In ALL ways.

  • Gilliebc

    A post if I may about Iraq and the discussed to death already dossier.

    When the US and the UK decided to go into Iraq, again, I thought it was a mistake and didn’t like or support the decision at all.¬† But these two¬†administrations had made up their minds to send our service people to war, come hell or high water. Nothing and no one was going to stop them.

    Alastair Campbell was accused of “persauding” MI5 or was it 6 to supply evidence to give the dossier more weight or to use that silly phrase, to sex it up!
    I hope I’ve got that bit more or less correct.¬† No doubt someone will tell me if I haven’t.

    To continue, I don’t know that much about MI5 or 6, but given their reputations, I fail to see quite how AC or any other Government lackey could persaude¬†those organisations¬†to do anything they didn’t want to do!¬† Maybe just maybe, it was the other way around!¬†¬†Two or Three inquiries have already concluded that AC did nothing wrong.¬† That should be the end of it.

    Finally, to be perfectly honest,¬†if it ever was proved that AC did something he perhaps shouldn’t have, I certainly would not think any the less of him.¬† Most of us have had to do things ocassionally as employees that we didn’t like or agree with.¬† As long as it isn’t illegal, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.¬†

  • Struggling to find words for a reponse to your article yesterday, and thinking “storm in a teacup” was far to violent an occasion¬†to compare the NI issue to, I thought I would wait untill¬†a more suitable phrase struck me, when Norway happened.
    And will keep on hapenning untill we find a way of trancending this mire which keeps us so bogged down in mulling the inconsequential without being able to tackle the big issues. That we will convert into a Big Issue and leave to the homeless to sell.  

    Des Currie

  • MicheleB

    I don’t think anyone should be ‘put down’ but then it’s not clear whether you think it’s me that thinks so or our host.¬† No fundamentalism of any kind here, no wish to demonise a whole group because of a few nutters, no wish to insinuate that all failed ‘defence correspondents’ that couldn’t take the pressure are down where they always belonged.

    Re your suggestion of what I should suggest about something that would inconvenience so many people other than your target, grow up.  No need for you to post on the old blogs, just read around and see what various people have posted in various months, try to develop that research habit.

    Re my weekend, I’m neither 5dpw nor 9-5; make the most of your own if you are.

  • Sgpmonty

    Hi Alastaire,
    Why is there NO mention of phone hacking etc about your favourite rag the
    DAILY MAIL, we would love to discuss our current situation re this rag and
    their unfounded accusations, leaked or sold to them by the Essex Police, plus
    their hacking of our phone.
    You can see some of these accusations on Google under Seamus and Paula
    Montgomery. My email is but be carefull as we are
    fairly sure that it is not 100% secure.

  • What do you think about the way in which the media are trying to stigmatize the disabled & sick in this country as scrounger’s and benefit cheat’s?

    All the political parties have much of that blame on their shoulder’s and New Labour played a huge part in that when they were in power.

    Labour should be shame faces as to how they have handled the attack on the poorest and most vulnerable of our society, why do you think they have supported the other parties over welfare reform Mr.Campbell?

  • MicheleB

    But as we know Gillie, there are those that consider the war itself 
    ‘illegal’ (high opinions of their own judgement and info?) as well as
    those that think it’s a bit of fun to parade around in t-shirts
    transposing Mr Blair’s name.

    I don’t think anyone anywhere in
    the west ever wanted a war but when one is as sure to happen as that
    against Iraq was, I’m very glad it was not conducted by one nation that
    we know for sure would have gone it alone and made a right pig’s ear of
    it (as it had elsewhere, 40yrs earlier).

    I’m glad TB worked as hard as he did around the world, forced Dubbya to
    wait while he did so and got a multi-national process in motion, there
    was no other way to ensure good outcomes, ending of sanctions,
    prosecutions of Saddam and Chemical Ali.

    The dumbest thing about it all is those same idiots choosing to
    describe him as Bush’s poodle, I rather think he kept Bush’s generals

    The double standards about the coalition’s actions freeing one nation’s citizens vs another that was allegedly simply about a ‘no fly zone’ (while yet more planes were sent out by us last week) are incredible.

  • Gilliebc

    Thanks for your response to my post Michele.  I entirely agree with your comments.  I particulary like what you wrote about TB and the huge effort he put into obtaining as you say, multi-national support, whilst at the same time reining-back Dubbya and some of the top people in the US military.

    As I said in my post, I didn’t like or suport the war in Iraq.¬† But, I certainly didn’t feel so strongly against it that I would have gone out to demonstrate or anything like that.¬† I think like a lot of other people probably thought, that the Government and intelligence agencies probably had access to much more information than we would ever know about so that, for me at least, made the decision to send our service people into Iraq, sort of justifiable.¬†

    As you quite rightly say Michele, the coalition’s double standards are incredible.¬† I feel much more strongly against this military intervention into Libya.¬† I know Gaddafi’s not perfect, to put it mildly, but if they succeed in overthrowing him, I think that whoever or whatever regime replaces him is very likely to be much much worse.

  • Alan

    If you want to know what AC is like just watch the film in the loop or the series in the thick of it.  Of course he all know what he did, not aware that he has ever been questioned under oath. AC please corret me if I am wrong.  

  • Ehtch

    To digress again, just to put my own PR at the nimnuts reducing of the coastgurad srvise By Cameron, and Clegg by default, especiallilly in Swansea, Mumbles, the canoes that they are, let me educate them what they do, followed by a lauch from Tenby Lifeboat house on calm seas, not gale 10, not gale 12, Dave, you total tosser! Anyway,

    Tenby, not a stormy launch – by feck, the Tamar would be bouncing like a ball as it reaches the sea unlike here,

  • Ehtch

    Ok, so I think James Murdoch is the ultimate tosser, and an user on people that actually do things. Does it show?

  • Ehtch

    Amy Winehouse, she knew really what she was playing with, and went into rehab, and came out, and to try and score herself with the same measure as before, maybe. But that is as it usually happens, like not having a fag for a few months, and then you have one and your mind is spinning, on nicotine!
    Anyway, Dylan,

  • Robert

    In all of this the Tory cuts to the NHS go on.

    My sister is in hospital – first food after the op was a basic egg salad – just egg and a bit of salad – no bread.

    During her first exercises at the other end of the ward she saw the food trolley come in with a variety of sandwiches and so on – commented she fancied a ham sandwich.

    By the time the trolley was at her bedside there was not much left Рno choice.

    So her son is taking her food in today.

    Tory NHS for you.

  • MicheleB

    There’s not much conserving being done by these ‘conservatives’ – they’re on about disbanding the Coldstream Guards now.

    It’s time the Queen stepped in and thwacked the Sham’s ears.

  • MicheleB

    First post or just first in a while?

    Did you bother to read around at all?

  • Ehtch

    For Clegg, and Dave, if it interests him, Isle of Man, part of the Welsh/Cornish/ Cumbrian/ Bretegne,Gallician type of thing culture, and Steve Plater riding on his bike around The Man, like a total COMPLETE LUNATIC! in two parts, it is a long drive, even if you are on a motor bike at 150mph plus. These men are loons!

    complete nutters, jeez…
    vote Labour by the way, if you bikers can stay alive long enough. big ball city it certainly is.

  • Richard

    Ehtch 16posts
    MicheleB 16 posts

    Why do you guys not set up your own blogs?

  • MicheleB

    Do you post anywhere else Richard, somewhere that you’re happier?

  • Gilliebc

    That sounds par for the course Robert, in some hospitals at least.¬† Also the fact that your sister was having to do her exercises when the food trolley came into the ward, another classic in many patients’ experience!
    A person could be forgiven for thinking it happens by design rather than accident.

    I can’t post my comment though without a few words of praise for our region’s “big” hospital, namely The Royal Devon and Exeter (Wonford)
    I’ve never been an in-patient there but my late mother was on several occasions¬†in her latter years.¬† As is the case with many elderly people my mum had mobility problems, but insisted on staying as she put it on her “own two flat feet” for years after many people would have given in and accepted a wheelchair.¬† I admired her courage and determination to keep going on her “own two flat feet” but the problem was she fell over increasingly often as the years went on always breaking bones in the process and ending up in the RD&E Hospital.¬† Which brings me back to the point I wanted to make about said hospital, before I allowed myself to get side-tracked.

    The RD&E Hosital is excellent in all ways.¬† The staff are not only efficient but down-to-earth, friendly and caring also.¬† The food is also excellent and varied. Despite being elderly my late mum was always given the best of care and attention.¬† She was never written off as “too old to bother about” a strategy which seems to be on the increase now in some hospitals in regard to the care and treatment of the elderly.

    It will be interesting and not a little scarey to see how our hospitals will fare under this Toryled government.¬† If past experience is anything to go by, we will have to watch them destroy all the good things that were achieved in that area under Labour’s 13 years of “rule” we need to make sure this lot are not in power for long enough to inflict too much damage on our hospitals at least.¬† Not to mention any of their equally catastrophic plans for other things that will have an effect on all of us.

  • Gilliebc

    AC didn’t write us a new blog for 3 whole days!¬† So some of us had to make our own entertainment, whilst we were waiting, Richard.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.¬† People don’t have to read every comment if they don’t want to.¬†

    Maybe you should occasionly post a comment just for the fun/hell of it.
    Chillax Rich.

  • Loquitir

    As you will know a lot of contact is made between civil servants in the Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills DBIS, Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the press in the advancement of policy development, promoting policy and consultation in the guise of private offices, senior civil servants, senior policy advisers and analysts.

    Some of the answers will be in the detail. Submissions to 10DS and cabinet would contain any views of relevant stakeholders and the media in narrative or annex.

    Perhaps 10DS, the CO, DBIS and DCMS should disclose lists all written and verbal contacts with the media such as News International to build up a close picture surrounding what Coulson involvement and NI involvement were in the formal bid from the inception of the Coalition Government.

    Us civil servants are told to promote government policy to the media in it’s best possible light – I just wonder how far the current Government went in promoting the NI interest as the Public Interest and what role did the communications core of Civil Service become de-neutralised in the process.

    Special Advisers contact with media also needs to be disclosed since coalition was formed.

    The issue of scrutiny prior to coalition are folly.

    The conduct of individuals employed by the media and ex-civil servants are being investigated by the police and parliament on serious offences. These offences were not brought in to government by the labour government but the Conservative Coalition. I wonder if and to what extent this catalogue of allegations and purported criminality has brought the civil service into disrepute and to what extent was NI directing the Government communications machinery.

    Also it strikes me that the imploded NI ex editor into the Conservative Party to fight the last election – to what extent was purported criminal knowledge, conduct and relations with continued purported criminality with NI compromised the Conservative Party itself. What did the party know of the criminality and what did they seek to benefit from an organisation purportedly institutionally corrupt.

  • MicheleB

    Let’s hope it won’t need a question to prompt him Ambrosian, he must have heard that manners maketh man, or go some way to.