There is a bizarre media fascination with some who have fallen from grace: despite his having been editor of the now-defunct Screws when it was happily listening in to voicemails on an industrial scale, and more recently charged with perjury in relation to the Tommy Sheridan trial at which he gave evidence, Andy Coulson retains an ability to fascinate those in the right-leaning commentariat.
So the news that the man who willingly did business with Jonathan Rees (among others) has given an interview to GQ magazine has caused some of the more easily persuaded to sit up and take notice. Perhaps they also believe that men used to buy Playboy magazine mainly for the articles.
Even the mainstream press – well, Mail Online, anyway – has been taken in by Coulson’s “advice” to Young Dave. “Can SamCam save Dave? Ex-Tory spin doctor Andy Coulson says the Prime Minister's wife must join election battle” readers are told. Whoopee-do. Party leader uses wife as electoral asset. Bet nobody ever thought of that one before Andy did.
But Will Heaven over at the Telegraph thinks Coulson’s intervention is the real deal. “Speak to Tories who worked with Andy Coulson and they tell you he's the sort of guy who ‘sees around corners’ – who's able to spot the brewing political story before it blows up”. Er, so? “So I've been reading his explosive article in GQ magazine, which made headlines yesterday”. Made headlines? I blinked and missed them.
And what’s “explosive” about such insights as Bozza wants Dave’s job? Has Will looked seriously at this article? Here’s what Coulson says about Mil The Younger: “The prime minister must push him to take positions ... challenge him to take a view on the tricky issues opposition politicians love to duck”. I may be wrong here, but I reckon Cameron can figure that one out without prompting.
What is also all too obvious is that Coulson is guessing when it comes to Miliband: “I'm struck by how detached the opposition front bench appears to be from their leader…I just don't think they rate him very much” means he’s guessing, and “Labour's Two Eds dislike each other and each thinks he is smarter than the other” means he is still guessing.
And anyone wanting Cameron to bring back Liam Fox, who is permanently damaged goods, is not dealing from a full deck (although in this case, Coulson would have all the opposition front bench agreeing with him). It’s all too clear that this is the work of someone who has been out of the loop for a long time, and hasn’t been kept up to date by any of the people who really matter.
But if those out there on the right want to believe this is winning advice, then I’m all in favour of them believing that. Meanwhile, Miliband is ordering yet more popcorn.