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The day I tried to talk to David Cameron about doing some of the things he announced today

Posted on 8 July 2011 | 9:07am

Apart from his weakness over BSkyB, David Cameron – finally – said and did a lot of the right things in his opening statement at his press conference today.

Once the questions got under way, however, the arrogance and the peevishness started to creep in.

I know part of his defence of his poor judgement with regard to Andy Coulson is to try to put me in the same bracket, as he did with a little popshot today re ‘dodgy dossiers,’ and as doubtless he will try to do when the Iraq Inquiry reports.

First, a reminder that, rightly, he supported the Iraq war. Second a reminder that on a day he was talking about politics and media separating out again, he was merely doing the media thing of conflating two very different documents. For anyone interested in the detail read transcripts of evidence to the various inquiries to which I have testified.

But more importantly, as I tweeted earlier, if he had listened to what I have been saying about the press for some time now, he would not be in this mess now, in which his judgement is being so loudly questioned.

It has been blindingly obvious for years that this issue was not going to go away, despite the police, News International and the government willing it away. It has been obvious ever since he hired him that Andy Coulson, with whom I always got on perfectly well, was going to become a problem for him at some point.

It has also been obvious that the media culture has been changing for the worse and that political leaders have been too slow in dealing with it. As I have said before, Tony Blair and I used to argue about this, and some of those arguments are in my latest diaries. There were more as time went on.

Tony took the view that with all the other priorities of government, making press standards and regulation another one would not command popular support and would waste time and energy. He shared my analysis that standards were worsening and that it was damaging the country and our culture – hence his ‘feral beast’ speech on the media shortly before he left office – but not that it was a priority. I argued that it was a genuine issue which in the public interest had to be addressed.

A vignette. Like David Cameron, like Gordon Brown, like many others in politics, I attended Rebekah Wade’s wedding to Charlie Brooks when Labour was still in power. At the time, Fiona and I were friendly with her, a friendship that waned when we lost power, and she moved very firmly to the Tories.

At one point, at the reception, I noticed David Cameron standing on his own. I went to talk to him. I said that obviously I hoped he didn’t win the election, but if he did, and if he wanted to do something about the press, then I would be willing to lend any support I could in that. I also said that he would find himself enormously strengthened as Prime Minister if he went in there without worrying about press support. It would free him to do what he thought was right. I also said I felt the importance of the press was diminishing and it was in the interests of the politicians that it did so.

He was engaged but did not exactly look enthusiastic and as he knew by then I was helping Gordon Brown, he was probably on his guard. But we did have a short, civilised conversation, during which I recall him saying ‘It’s got worse, hasn’t it?’

At that point, who should hove into view but Rupert Murdoch? The subject changed when perhaps we should not have allowed it to do so.

Mr Cameron can try to lump me in with Mr Coulson if he wishes. But on the issue of press standards, the uselessness of the Press Complaints Commission, the extent of the phone-hacking scandal, and the need for politicians to be firmer and stronger in the face of the new media culture of negativity, I think Tony Blair would  confirm that I have been banging on about this for some years. Jonathan Powell used to call it my ‘stuck record’.

But if he had thought these issues through and showed real leadership and judgement, Mr Cameron would have reached the same position a long time ago.

  • Kirsty

    Really. You love to pontificate don’t you – you expect us to believe that at a newspaper editors wedding you found DC on his own and spoke to him about how bad the press were? the press you spun and courted for years on behalf of labour.  13 years to do something and you did nothing. ‘The Day I tried to talk to David Cameron’ should read (if true) ‘The day I spoke to the leader of the opposition at a wedding for 5 minutes slagging off the brides paper’ – still spinning with no substrance. beyond pathetic.

  • NickSmeggHead

    Cameron refused to apologise for the appointment of Coulson and argued that he was not warned about Coulson’s links with a private investigator accused of murder before his appointment

    This is what was said by Alan Rusbridger yesterday in the Guardian

    “Before the election it was common knowledge in Fleet Street that an investigator used by the NoW during Andy Coulson’s editorship was on remand for conspiracy to murder. We couldn’t report that due to contempt of court restrictions, but I thought it right that Cameron should know before he took any decisions about taking Andy Coulson into Number 10. So I sent word via an intermediary close to Cameron. And I also told Clegg personally.”

    Now who is telling the truth Rusbridger or Cameron?

    Cameron you are telling a big fat lie and the nation knows it!

  • DM

    AC, the reality is that Cameron is far too full of himself and will never want to admit he should have listend to you even if his political life depends on it.  He’s holed below the water line and the only question for me is when Cameron will go and how?  Will his own party circle and oust him or will they try to see things through and be tarred with the same brush?  Either way, his time as party leader will prove to be a massive mill stone for the Tories and I’m chuffed to bits about that.  He’s a cheap PR man who is a very big part of the problem rather than the solution and can’t possibly preside over reform.  He is a hinderance to this country and needs to go.

    Keep making the points Aladstair because they can’t all play deaf for ever without us ordinary people asking why, who and what are they protecting or hiding, and why are they still allowed to benefit at our expense.

  • MicheleB

    I was very saddened reading the blog below the Guardian article you linked yesterday.

    People just keep repeating the same old hackneyed jibes, feeding prejudices and not showing any backup of what they spout or even any sign of research or reading.

    I came across Susan Watts’ evidence again yesterday:
    The contradiction between the headline and the link’s name is hilarious

    Things must have been very raw for Dr Kelly’s family way back at the start of the Inquiry but surely by now they are apprised of what still hasn’t been widely publicised. 
    I was reminded (not minded; I hate that pseud trendy term) of having read about Dr Kelly’s conversion to a liberal form of Islam and his informal marriage to the colleague who’d introduced him to it.
    How come some things just don’t get widely broadcast?
    Could there be just as much subjectivity and spite about what to expose or cover up on TV (especially Ch 4) as there is in the Press?

  • smileoftdecade

    points well made – and a good position of calm in the frenetic storm that many wish to stoke up. 
    Cameron is now badly damaged – maybe not below the waterline – but near enough to it to hamper any full speed ahead onward movement.

  • Robert

    Bearing in mind the huge police resource that is going to be thrown at the hacking investigation – some no doubt from around the country – and the Coalition’s commitment to cutting the cost of the police, will the officers doing this investigation find, at the end of it, that they have effectively written their own P45’s?

    Surely, in the land of Tory police cuts it’s only commonsense that if the force back home copes while staff are away on secondment in London then their jobs can go?

  • Ehtch

    Has Dave given up botox? I have seen several furrows on the plastic mans forehead in recent days. Just waiting for the grey hairs to sprout, and bags being laid underneath his eyes, as is necessary for a PM to show when doing their duty in office.

    And yes, Dave this morning was PR at it’s sharp end – very wooly, but vacant.

  • tess

    I think DC answered some of the questions well at the press conference today but when journalists present began giving him a good grilling, that familiar flush spread up his neck and the squirming began. He did himself no favours at all with the ‘popshot’ at Alastair and his repeated digs at the previous government. The ConDems have been in power for 14 months now and it is about time they started taking some responsibility instead of blaming the previous administration for everything. So far, according to the ConDems, Labour are responsible for the banks, the deficit, poverty in this country (despite the fact that many of the poorest people in our country prospered under Labour); the list goes on. People have eyes and ears and are beginning to see through the rose garden tinted glasses of the current Government and no amount of slating the previous administration will change that. DC’s lack of apology for the monumental mistake in hiring his ‘friend’ Andy Coulson in the first place may well come back and bite him where it hurts.

  • ambrosian

    Watching Cameron’s repeated assertion that he felt Coulson deserved a second chance, it sounded as though he employed him as an act of charity and that Downing Street was part of some kind of rehabilitation scheme for fallen journalists. Can this naive and soft-hearted Cameron be the same Cameron that is cutting welfare benefits and tearing up Ken Clarke’s plans to reduce the prison population?

    It was certainly a cheap shot at Alastair, implying that he was the sole author of the so-called ‘dodgy dossier’. And I don’t recall Alastair ever being arrested on suspicion of corruption. As for claiming that Coulson behaved impeccably in his role in Downing Street, maybe we should add the qualification “as far as we know”. For if any of the allegations against him are proven – phone hacking, corruption, perjury, misleading Cameron – then surely people will ask whether he engaged in any disreputable behaviour whilst working for Cameron. No current evidence that he did, of course (for the benefit of m’learned friends).

    Cameron’s opening statement was impressive but we’ve always known that this PR man could talk the talk. We also know how many pre-election promises he has broken. Even Nick Robinson gave a surprisingly cynical view of this press conference. In one of John Major’s favourite phrases “fine words butter no parsnips.”

  • Alan

    Mr Campbell. I am an ordinary person with the benefit of a
    good education from the days when such could be had in this land. Also I hope a
    modicum of intelligence. I read widely and I work in an industry where
    misrepresentation, exaggeration and sometimes downright lies are a commonplace.
    As such I have come across self-serving drivel before. Were the generation of
    such material to become an Olympic event then I would back you in any campaign
    to represent our nation as I feel sure you would be a medallist, if not the

  • MicheleB

    What a peculiar post :-s

    Is everyone that you meet or need to talk to in your work or private life someone that you admire?  Are you that closed minded or lucky?  Not everyone can be.  I’m not, but without going all religious on you (heaven forfend) I’m aware that all humans have rights and the right for their opinions to be considered.

    As DC made the choice that he did between the two ACs, one being the hate figure of the right wing Press and the other being its feeder, what the heck is there to defend?

  • MicheleB

    I do have to wince at the admissions from James Murdoch; isn’t he just the worst example of a bought education? 

    The very epitome of that sickening practice of Unis taking in rich idiots (bullied progeny) for the ‘reason’ of their fees being used to fund poorer students.  Faux philanthropy.

  • DM

    You need to go and do some quiet research Kirsty.  A large part of the reason that the media and the Tories don’t and didn’t like Alastair Campbell is because he’s better at the job – their job – than they are!  When they tired to play fast and loose with facts, AC confronted them with it and they really didn’t like it.  It’s testimony to how effective he was that Cameron tried to emulate it by getting someone to try and do a similar job.  The trouble is that because Cameron is such a shoddy shambolic excuse for a leader that he’s brought the office of Prime Minister into disrepute by appointing someone who was already clearly tainted.  Cameron’s line now seems to be “I take full responsibility” but there is nothing to follow it.  What does taking responsibility mean?  His own resignation?  An apology to the Queen for the slur on the office he holds?

    No, his version of taking responsibility doesn’t even seem to go as far as being appraised of all the facts before doing the press conference.  Instead he said he’d have to go and find out some stuff .  Shoody, shambolic and very, very unconvincing.

  • Ehtch

    Royal court and biggotry, or as Cromwell was told in the great RObert Bolt “Man for all Seasons” – “just for Wales!!!!!!!”

    TWAT! Llangollen International Eisteddfod that is going on now, mun,

  • Ehtch

    By the way, Llangollen International Eisteddfod is available to watch here live – stunning musical live performances from around the world, if you have the time,

    S4C supplied, and all that patent bollox and shit

  • Ehtch

    in the UK only, S4C live, that is. Wish the whole World could see the Llangollen International Eisteddfod live each day.

  • Anonymous

    politicians and journalists are cut from the same cloth in mediascape—esp from an institutional lens. And now the overlap is even more pronounced. ANY govt led ‘public’ inquiry or reg into journalism will always be ineffectual. Why? politicians—journalists are two-sides of the same mediaverse coin. This is the real point-at-issue. With an informed, non-deferential public to big institutions (anti-murdoch flash mobs today are just the beginning as collective action trends towards being frictionless). cameron can only benefit from completely radically reframing and redefining. I think you sort of get it, but still quite contaminated by conventional westminster thinking. my 2cents @raheeln

  • MicheleB

    Another one hit wonder brand spanking new ID?

    Have you done a runner with Kirsty or could you be her in another ID?

    Shooooooo 🙂

  • Patricia Shepherd

    David Cameron is such an arrogant pig! He cocks up and instead of apologising he tries to wriggle out of it by implicating  Blair and Campbell!
         It’s always a sign that things are not going right for him when he starts to insult the Labour party,not on policies but personal insults!
        He should resign and apologise for all his blunders.

    • MicheleB

      I feel the same about AC’s tweet re having civil exchanges with Greg Dyke today.

      The ability to be civil about such a damaging force that for some *** alone-knows what reason was allowed to rule R4 for so long is testimony to his humanity.

      That dredge allowed scurrilous ugly headlines to be read out on the hour every hour for weeks on end and pretended he had not heard them.  R4 suffered enormously during his tenure and for months afterwards. He,  along with Liddle, paraded around sactimoniously in some awful pretence of being heroic.


  • Kept waiting for Cameron to say “We’re all in this together” during his statement this morning. 

  • Ehtch

    Talk to David Cameron? You will get further pissing up a rope.

  • Richard Lloyd

    The financial crisis has shown the UK’s systems of checks and balances to be seriously lacking. The Media should have been investigating the practices of investment banks and our financial services industry. Instead they were writing alot of sensationalist stories to maximise their revenue in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Profit over the public good. Reform is required as we need an effective media to call Parliament and Financial Services Industry to account. Clearly, we should also be asking why the politicians, judicial system, police, accountancy and law firms etc didnt red flag all risks the FS sector was taking. We need new standards across the board. One step at a time, eh!

  • Richard Lloyd

    The financial crisis has shown the UK’s systems of checks and balances to be seriously lacking. The Media should have been investigating the practices of investment banks and our financial services industry. Instead they were writing alot of sensationalist stories to maximise their revenue in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Profit over the public good. Reform is required as we need an effective media to call Parliament and Financial Services Industry to account. Clearly, we should also be asking why the politicians, judicial system, police, accountancy and law firms etc didnt red flag all risks the FS sector was taking. We need new standards across the board. One step at a time, eh!

  • Derek

    Unlike others who’ve commented, I’ve no reason to doubt your account of your conversation with Cameron.

    I do think, and I wonder if you would agree, that one of Cameron’s fatal strategic flaws (both as Leader of Opposition and in government) is/was his determination from the outset to emulate Blair by effectively out-Blairing Blair.

    Thus, for example, he appointed Coulson from the News of the Screws in an effort to replicate Blair’s appointment of yourself from The Mirror.

    I terms of the ‘bigger picture’ (and I write this as a former Labour voter/supporter) it sticks in my craw to see the current crisis being couched in party-political terms (by whichever party) for numerous reasons, including:

    – New Labour were in power for 13 years and were deeply subservient to Murdoch and NI throughout.

    – New Labour could have acted and chose not to.

    – The hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone in particular has given rise to a wave of genuine public anger and revulsion that crosses party political boundaries.

    – Those at the heart of government during the last decade, of whichever political persuasion need to bear the latter point in mind?

  • DM

    He did!  This bloke just needs big yellow shoes and a red nose.  Coco Cameron strikes again.
    This rubbish about a second chance just doesn’t bear scrutiny, nor does all his clap trap about taking responsibility.  His taking responsibility is meaningless just like him saying “I’ll do everything I can do” – a corollary being – “I won’t do anything I can’t do”?  He just openness his mouth and all this automatic drivel just spews out, he talks but says nothing of substance, nothing measurable.  His second chance to someone of questionable background would see senior public officials fired for a lack of due process if they even tried something similar.  A basic background check by a hired company – what’s all that rubbish?  So at the heart of our nations leadership and all the important matters of state is a ‘second chance’ culture?  Outside the cosy world of Planet Cameron i.e. in the real world, people have to have stringent background checks, possibly CRB checks, possibly security vetting etc etc and then a reasoned decision is still made on whether or not that person is suitable for the post and all the work it involves.   The first thing that should happen now is that the Security Service should go into Number 10 and do an investigation into what damage may have been caused by Cameron handing Coulson such a free rein and Drowning St officials also need to be questioned.  Did Cameron approach Coulson or vice versa, or did Ms Brooks make the recommendation?  As a public servant Cameron should also tell us, the tax payers, exactly which ‘private company’ was paid to look into Coulsons background….was it by any chance one called M Mouse Background Checks, one called Murdoch Investigations, Mulcaire Inquiries, Wade/Brooks Inc, SootForBrains Services? 
    The ‘second chance’ explanation is just a smokescreen and what’s probably closer to the truth is that being a PR man, Cameron couldn’t wait to have someone from the Murdoch empire on the inside of his clique and, because Cameron see’s our nation as his play thing, the national interest doesn’t even spark his thinking because his clique is all important. 
    As a slight aside, I also heard Tim Montgomery earlier talking immediately after the Cameron press conference and despite all the horrendous stuff surrounding the News of the World even in just the last 5 days, Milly Dowler, 7/7 victims, bereaved relatives of soldiers etc, Montgomery seems to think that stirring up some party political point scoring thing about Ed Millibands PR man is the more important issue to be speaking about.  Scotty, beam up Montgomery as he seems to have gone for a mindless wander around Planet Cameron and is part of the same problem – another establishment figure avoiding the issue and trying to tell us, the public, what to think and what we should be bothered about. 

  • Quinney

    Alastair, do what you do best. Help the Labour party to stick the knife in as far as it will go and twist it.No mercy.

  • Kirsty

    no – not with Alan – Mr Campbell will never be able to lecture us all on press standards – pot calling kettle black. A load of rubbish – Mr Campbell is full of his own self importance for no reason – why on earth would DC want him helping him with anything?

  • Paul M

    Sorry to disturb your evident self-esteem. What exactly is your point?. Why do you think you can no longer get a good education? Are you an estate agent?

  • marymot

    Isn’t it true that the press use their power to lead us as much by what they don’t tell us as by what they do,  for instance that Dr Kelly thought the invasion of Iraq was necessary either at the time it took place or later when it could be much more difficult. ( See his sister’s evidence to Lord Hutton)  

  • But more importantly, as I tweeted earlier, if he had listened to what I have been saying about the press for some time now, he would not be in this mess now, in which his judgement is being so loudly questioned.

    Wow you are quite some hypocrite aren’t you Alistair?
    As if you aren’t renowned for your influence in establishing the rather pathetic and incestuous relationship between the gutter press and the political establishment in this country.
    As if you weren’t the arch-protagonist in the configuration of Parliament’s poodle-like deference to NI.Mr Cameron can try to lump me in with Mr Coulson if he wishesYer, well he probably does wish.Here’s you skulking in the background in 1999:'re kind of famuos for being the cheap thug, who coursened every political debate in this country, and who made sure it was dragged down to the level of shrill and tedious self-righteousness.BUt you’ve outdone yourself with this blog post. Altogether unchartered territory in terms of the depth of its hypocrisy. Congratulations.

  • Ehtch

    David Cameron, oh dear, David Cameron. The thousand day prime minister it is lookin – Dave of a thousand days

  • MicheleB

    Coco Cameron …. this is how I sounded when reading that :

    • Ehtch

      please stop david cameron – hahhhhhhhhhhahhha sweet.

  • ZintinW4

    Coulson may or not deserve a 2nd chance, that is a question that really rests upon how we view punishment and rehabilitation. The real question is how on earth did we allow Cameron to get the chance to be Prime Minister. As Blair said ‘if we can’t take these people apart we don’t deserve to be in politics’. We didn’t and now we are paying the price. Britain deserves better than Cameron as PM. He is uselsss, out of his depth and worse still pathologically unable to tell truth from fiction. The reason he is there is because we, collectivelly, lost the will to win. 

    • MicheleB

      I think we lost because of the Hello cult/TV debates

      Cam and Clegg were still carefree and glossy, GB was weighed down with years of intensive hard work and little interest in populism.

      He over-estimated the public.

  • Nick K

    One person who is keeping  quiet in all this is Vince Cable.If you recall he once said in an unguared moment that he could go nuclear( or something similar) on the BSKYB bid.What did he mean by that ?.Did he have information that would blow it out of the water ?.As we all know he was quikly shoved to one side by Cameron !.
    Wish someone would collar him to ask what he knew !

    As for Cameron’s press conference !.He just showed what a shallow person he is !.He does not demonstrate any responsibility at all for bringing a former NOTW editor who in all probablity knew more about the hacking , into the inner sanctum of government.

    It is clear to all that Cameron is squirming and I suspect that more of the smelly stuff will stick to him !!

  • Olli Issakainen

    Just came back home after visiting relatives. What an interesting day!
    Will the BSkyB deal now collapse?
    But the worst thing is that the police, News International and the Tory-led government wanted to brush the whole phone-hacking saga under the carpet.
    So a big cheer now to the Guardian, AC and JP for banging about the phone-hacking.
    I hope something good now comes out of this. 

  • MicheleB

    So many loons around today.

    Your profile shows you as a poster on the BNP’s site.

    Should I jump to auto-pilot re your reasons for doing so?

    • Yes please do.
      (N.B. Psychotically advocating mass immigration and “multiculturalism”, to the extent that you silence any political criticism of either policy, is the real lunacy… hence why I am quite happy to post on the BNP website, as opposed to the various sociopathic “progressive” websites that you might favour).

    • By the way congratulations on coming up with yet another variation on the single, one-and-only Nu Lab argument on any topic…. “You’re waycist/howible/xenophobic/a-BNP-voter”.

      No wonder you’re a Campbell acolyte.

      Having had no recourse to any kind of intellect in your life before, along came Alistair with his particularly self-righteous brand of horse-shit – and there it was, laid out before you, a single argumental strategy that even a completely brain-dead moron like you could parrot.

    • Oh and by the way your profile shows you to be a (supportive) poster on the Alistair Campbell blog.

      I’d delete away if I was you, you just can’t get any lower than that.
      I’m certainly thinking of wiping my profile  – even though my comments were critical. Just being associated with this place makes you feel like absolute filth.

      The vile pit of Alistair Campbell’s deeply “reflective” mind.

      • MicheleB

        I think we need Nurse Ratched or would a cup of camomile tea suffice?

  • Yes! Twist away Alistair!
    Alistair Campbell: “Why Cameron was WRONG for getting too close to NI”.
    “Alistair Campbell – How I’m fully qualified to point the finger at political parties for establishing parasitic and corrupt relationships with all-powerful media empires”.
    “Alistair Campbell – Why I have literally ZERO moral authority on this issue whatsoever….  except that I err may have warned David Cameron about it, err yeh maybe or summink.  So that it makes it alright and stuff innit. INNIT?” What a complete and utter joke. Just the most obvious and pathetically blatant hypocrisy.

  • Anonymous

    The Honeymoon is over for Cameron
    The cracks are opening on that arrogant patronising excuse for a PM
    The Lib Dems now need to man up and start to act with their heads and forget about maintaining  their futile ineffective presence in this “Conolition”

    Without Murdoch Cameron is a lame duck in the water !!

  • MicheleB

    Yes MM, it would seem that being a member/employee of any media organ means one has to toe the line on its standpoint. 

    It must take a lot of personal compromises.

    I do feel very sorry for Paul McMullan who looks like a broken man; unlike Cameron he most definitely does not feel comfortable about what has been done in the past (some of which by himself).

  • Jose

    Drivel….nice try but drivel nonetheless.

  • MicheleB

    Another flying visit Kirsty?

    Are you whizzing around all similar blogs today or are we specially privileged?

  • AC I think your missing the point, what ever the News of the World did, yes it was wrong and people should face a trial and jail if convicted, they didn’t get the UK in to War with a sexed up and dodgy document. At the end of the day the Iraq War cost the lives of 179 of our brave soldiers. I supported the Iraq War, if not the post war planning etc, but the War was sold to the public on the perception by them on a con, the press after the hacking will return to form, Labour and Tories before the 2015 election will be back in bed with the papers that support them. Do you think your old paper the Daily Mirror is totally clean, god forbid that the Guardian has any dodgy files, the press at the end of the day will make sure any Press Inquiry dies a death, they will not form a mutual firing squad to keep the politicians happy or you, they will start to shout press freedom, and that the Government is trying to control the press, and you will be even more hated by the press for wanting to control them, is it worth the bother really, some other story will come along, that the point of the news.

  • Derek


    There is absolutely no point in inviting comments to your blog posts if you do not respond to the comments posted.

    I’m sorry, but this is such a serious crisis, the activities involved are so vile, that to just sit back and count the ‘hits’ in response to your posts is palpably facile.

  • Ehtch

    Cameron, I have heard, at the moment is doing the political quick step. That is, not knowing which way to turn. Good luck to the git.

  • Dave Simons

    On 6th July Mark Wright posted the following, which I hope he doesn’t mind if I recycle (edited slightly):

    ‘The phone hacking story will only add to the public distrust of authority.
    rely on their newspaper for information and opinion about the world in
    which they live. The relationship builds up over time into a personal
    connection and affiliation. They trust that whatever methods used to
    obtain the information they are presented with will be in their personal
    The newspapers themselves did a very good job of
    eroding public trust in politicians. The outrage that was felt by many
    was genuine and lasting, the effects of which are still being felt today.
    with the newspapers themselves shown to be mired in their own sleaze
    and corruption there is a danger the public will start to feel anger and
    resentment towards ANY institutions they consider to be in authority.
    with this story looking highly likely to encompass the police as well
    there is a real danger that as trust erodes yet further there will be a
    genuine disconnect between the public and ALL facets of authority.
    at a time when people are being squeezed financially due to the
    incompetence of another previously hallowed institution, the banks, that
    is a potentially lethal combination.’

    I agree with all that but don’t share what comes across as Mark’s anxiety. I think distrust of authority can be a good thing, but only if we are prepared to take responsibilties ourselves and acknowledge our own potential corruptibility. Murdoch started off as a radical journalist in Australia, but absolute power corrupts absolutely and we behold the monster he has become. It’s an old and common story. Equally common is the clubbiness of people when they get to what they perceive as ‘the top’, and how people of supposedly different ideological mind-sets are surprised to find that they ‘get on’ better with each other than with people of like mind-sets – Ian Paisley Senior and Martin McGuinneas, ‘The Chuckle Brothers’,  have illustrated that perfectly in recent years. I’ll be visiting the Westminster Club next Tuesday and I won’t be surprised to witness, as on previous visits, Labour and Tory MPs doing the old pals act and being immensely clubbable. Last time I went they were having a giggle amongst themselves about Ann Widdecombe and cannabis.The question is: are we ready to challenge them to be straight and honest, or are we made of the same stock – hypocritical, easily bought, corruptible, disguising our own private ambitions in the cloak of ‘working for the greater good’?

  • truth and justice

    14 months. I well remember Tony Blair when campaigning in 2005 was still blaming the previous Government. I tried to ring 5 Live when he was on doing it to ask him at what point he would take some responsibility- 5 years, 10 years, 15 years – they never let me ask the question.

    As for Andy Coulson it is worth noting that he hasnt infact been charged with anything as yet. The left wingers enjoying this so much need to be careful as I woul dimagine theres already grounds for claiming he cant get a fair trial.        

  • MicheleB

    Oh, more pop(ular) – not pot – shots.

    From what I’ve read there was ambiguous info in the dossier. 
    Its writers believed there were still WsMD that had not yet been found.  That info was waffle-y and if their ‘belief’ was serious it needed to be written less ambiguously. 
    Ergo if it had not been serious it would not have been so ‘stiffened’ by its writers.

    That word ‘stiffened’ was given a spin along the way.  I don’t know whether the term ‘sexed up’ emanated from a Govt meeting or was introduced by someone feeding Gilligan or whether Gilliigan himself first used it when speaking off the cuff without notes during a pre-arranged 6am phone conversation.

    Whichever, I would imagine it was excruciating for David Kelly to be associated with.either passing along such a phrase or having invented it or the suspicion that he had invented it.  Elsewhere in this thread we have a link to Susan Watts’ comments to Hutton about his demeanour.

  • MicheleB

    Do you think he should sit waiting for comments and respond to each  rather than go about what must be very serious work this week?



  • Cassandra

    Alastair you spent much of your time on the public payroll sucking up to the likes of Murdoch and Brooks. 

    You are part of the problem and can never be part of the solution. 

    Please now walk quitely into the night. 

  • MicheleB

    I hope I’m not triplicating this post due to an IT glitch!

    Since we live in a society where enemies are not shot on sight and since we also respect the rights of others to support enemies don’t you think there’s a grown-up intelligence in working with them?
    There’s not much hope of reaching or informing people if one ignores them.

    Earlier on in this thread I posted to someone that ‘landed’ with a brand new ID but arrived with pre-arranged accusations and prejudices (stupid word ‘skulking’ to describe tension or concentration).

    I asked it (as in I asked the ID as I dunno whether it was a he or she) whether its profile showing them as a BNP poster should allow me to (similarly) make my own subjective presumption about their posture, their reasons for doing so. 
    After all, I have posted there myself, just before the elections when they were forced to change what they call their ‘constitution’.

    The stream of what followed showed the individual didn’t get my point.

    People have to be accessed and as said elsewhere, no matter how distasteful the route. 
    My Grandparents were arch Tories, I only wish they’d been around to see who the NoW supported in ’97. 

    But then we do know Murdoch’s support is a movable feast anyway and he knew who was going to win, with or without him; he wasn’t going to allow that to appear to be the honest win that it was, he was in ‘master of the universe’ mode. 

    I’m glad he was used.

  • MicheleB

    Are you really unaware of the differences between what is known NOW about NoW and what was known in ’97?

    You really need to calm down, you’re losing your rag, there’s going to be a replacement (and I really hope all the innocent NoW workers get re-employed on it) but you’re getting yourself in a splashy lather.

  • Ehtch

    I know this sounds stupid, but I have put ten quid on for Schumacher to win on Silverston tomorrow, what with the drenching weather and all. Watch and shoot!

  • Quinney

    Alistair and many others including some in his own party warned the Eton ponce not to hire Coulson. But, David being David he knew best, his arrogance will cost him dear and it’s marvelous to watch!! What a pair to lead this country… Cameron and Clegg.

  • Hopwood

    Cable used the phrase “nuclear option” to refer to his own potential departure from the govt. As in, he believed that his resignation could and would destroy the coalition. This was the “nuclear option”.


  • Yes Michele we all get it –  I “might” be a BNP supporter, therefore thickos like you get to use that as a pointless insult, so you can “win” the argument and feel all good about yourself.

    We like to think of ourselves as a charity in that respect.

    The BNP – helping mentally-disabled Labour Supporters feel good about themselves all over the internet.

  • Tess

    Maybe so truth and justice..the big difference it seems to me is that for 18 years the Conservatives dismantled or destroyed much of this country, (mining for example) and encouraged the ‘every man for himself’ mentality which led to a nation obsessed by wealth and greed. Unfortunately, while many (particularly in the South) prospered during this period, those whose feet had not quite gotten on the bottom rung of the ladder were thrown to the wolves. The big problem for Labour was that 13 years was NOT enough time to unravel the damage done although they gave it a very good shot and improved life enormously for the most vulnerable in our society. It must be heart breaking for those same politicians who DID make life better for the ordinary person to have to sit and watch helplessly as policy by policy, group by group, their good work is being undone by the ConDemd lot in Downing Street at present (tax credits – cut, child benefit – cut, winter fuel allowance – cut – I could go on but risk my fingers cramping if i attempt to get everything in here!) I am not a politician, or a member of any political party, just an ‘ordinary’ person with eyes and ears speaking from personal experience from the town where I live which during the years Labour was in power changed dramatically for the better. I hope that when the next election rolls around people actually LISTEN to what is said and scratch beneath the surface of what seem like great ideas (Big Society) and see them for what they are. It was big-hearted of DC to give AC a ‘second chance’ but will this big-heartedness extend to the disabled, elderly, unemployed, single parents, low earning families worrying about how to survive in the face of savage cuts in ALL of their lives. Somehow, I do not think so.

  • Ehtch

    Remember, you MI5, Dave of even the Thousand Days, if you can work it to happen… : ) Think of the excellent parallel publicity for the UK, UKs real head office. Many would be amused, like that bloke on yank telly, you know the one, that’s it Jon Stewart, that’s the geezer. He’d laugh his cock off if it happened, if he is still in the job. Yanks ey, pay them ten squillion one year, then sack them the next. Tossers.

    WHAT! MI5? I am not stupid, I know what could possibly go in the dark shadows, for the better good, sometimes, with a nod and a wink….

  • Rob

    I think you are just as culpable as the rest Alastair. You were in the pockets of Murdoch and Co. Absolute power corrupts – absolutely.

  • Ehtch

    Cleggy look as if he was struggling next to Dave yesterday. Either with his conscience or with nicotine withdrawel….

    Come on Clegg, show your orange tulip shaped balls – speak out, speak your mind, give both barrels?