It’s a rare occasion that sees the Daily Mail take the same line with its front page lead as that in the Guardian, but today saw just that: the latter, exceptionally, used almost all that front page for “Coulson: the criminal who had Cameron’s confidence”, while the Mail tells “Questions over PM’s judgment as spin doctor he took to No 10 faces jail for phone hacking while Rebekah Brooks is freed”.
The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre’s less than subtle flourish is to add “Humiliation for Cameron”. The Mail has even roped in Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover to put the boot in: “The inescapable truth is that Mr Cameron’s original embrace of Mr Coulson, as well as his later championing of him, raise alarming questions about his judgment and good sense that have not gone way”
Nick Davies at the Guardian notes “The ease with which [Coulson] was able to fool the Conservative leadership will also add weight to questions about David Cameron’s judgment in hiring the former News of the World editor without checking his background – and about the reliability of evidence that the prime minister gave under oath to the Leveson inquiry”.
Meanwhile, the Mail points out that Mr Justice Saunders’ condemnation of those, including Young Dave, who made ill-advised remarks yesterday afternoon – while the jury were still deliberating – was not the first time he had put his foot in it that way, there being the precedent of his “team Nigella” remark, delivered somewhere between Downing Street and Beaconsfield services late last year.
And Daily Mail Comment will not cheer the PM: “So why did Mr Cameron ignore wiser counsels, giving him this job at the heart of the Tory Party and the Government? Two reasons – neither worthy of him. One was a foolish belief that the former editor of a red-top paper might be just the man to lend the Tories the common touch they so manifestly lacked. The other, more questionable still, was his determination to strengthen his links with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire”.
True, the paper fouls up by then claiming that the Leveson Inquiry was precipitated by a claim made about Milly Dowler’s voicemails, which it was not. But that Dacre is prepared to question Cameron’s judgment does not bode well for the period running up to the next General Election.
And the Mail’s editor is rather close to Nick Davies on the point of Cameron and Murdoch: “according to senior Tory officials, Cameron made no attempt to seek a police briefing or to check the court record, even when he became prime minister and took Coulson into Downing Street. Cameron has been accused of employing Coulson in spite of his past in order to build a bridge to Rupert Murdoch”.
When Dacre follows the paper that broke the phone hacking story – that’s trouble.