Hardly had I posted on the state of play with Phonehackgate, than more developments came to light: private detective Glenn Mulcaire has now, it seems, fingered the Screws’ assistant news editor, Ian Edmondson, as someone who asked him to listen in to others’ voicemails.
And this short paragraph from the Guardian article should be setting alarm bells ringing long and loud across Downing Street: “It is also understood that Mulcaire said in the court statement that several other executives at the News Of The World were aware that phone hacking was taking place, although he does not name them”
But over at the Maily Telegraph, assistant editor Benedict Brogan tells us that Andy Coulson, who sat in the editor’s chair at the Screws while Phonehackgate was in full swing (but didn’t know anything about it, honest), is proving indispensable to both Young Dave and the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet.
Ben’s argument is just a little complex: while he admits that “the waters of the ... affair are lapping at the door of Number 10”, and that “the police say the mood has changed and it’s getting serious”, he also tells that Coulson is being talked of as on a par with Bernard Ingham and Alastair Campbell. For some reason, Brogan fails to stop and think a moment on this: Young Dave isn’t old enough to know squit about Ingham, and no Tory will have first-hand knowledge of Big Al’s time at Number 10.
Moreover, Ben covers his rear by then going on to talk in terms of Coulson moving on “to even greater things”, maybe as early as next May. But Ingham and Campbell were made of far sterner stuff – the idea that either would move on after a year would not have been credible then, and certainly isn’t now. If Coulson is indispensable to Young Dave, there would be no question of departure, short of the next General Election.
Methinks Ben is just trying to sound optimistic, and has maybe swallowed the Number 10 line that this is just a Westminster Village story. But we’ve already had the “non story” idea taken apart by recent events. My take is that the man from the Maily Telegraph may be nominating himself for a “Famous Last Words” award.