Andy Coulson is not J Edgar Hoover

By Dan McCurry

J Edgar Hoover originally brought scandal upon himself when he worked in the private sector. However, he was saved from his disgrace when the US president offered him a job as his head of communications. As the holder of one of the most powerful civilian ranks in the US government, he answered directly to the president without the constraint of civil service accountability to stand in his way.

That paragraph is, of course, ridiculous. Why would anyone hire the disgraced J Edgar Hoover? Who in their right mind would be interested in a man whose view of the private lives of others was so contemptible that he bugged thousands of public figures? Not for national security reasons, but to pursue his own selfish ends.

Of all people, why would the US president hire J Edgar Hoover after he came to public notoriety following a bugging and deception scandal? A scandal that sent people around him to jail and over which he only narrowly avoided prosecution. It is inconceivable.

Yet that is exactly what David Cameron did when he hired Andy Coulson. There then followed a spate of bugging and burglary scandals involving the Tory party as beneficiaries. Questions were asked. The Guardian investigated.

A police officer on the original investigation told Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist, that there had been thousands of suspected cases at the News of the World. So had the investigation been ended prematurely? If so, what could possibly have caused that?

The officer responsible for the case was assistant commissioner John Yates. Does this man have a reputation for leaving a single stone unturned? He does not. He prosecuted Tony Blair for 18 months at a cost of £1.4 million. And he produced absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

There is no such thing as a tabloid editor who knew nothing about the source of a story about a public figure. The notion is ridiculous. It is their job on the line and their evidence that would be heard in court. To argue that they were incompetent would be equally ridiculous – the News of the World had scoop after scoop during this period. Now we know how they got all those stories.

David Cameron has invested a huge amount of effort in convincing the British people that he is a nice guy. This business with Andy Coulson has chipped away and chipped away at that image. Nothing has blown up and there has been no great scandal. But the voters know about it. And every time they hear allegations of phone hacking about Cameron’s man, Cameron’s likeability is eroded that little bit more.

So why did he not just get rid of him in the first place? He was not at Eton with this man. Coulson is not a Tory voter and he had never done anything for the Conservative party. What possible hold could Andrew Coulson have over David Cameron, that he could ride this never ending wave of negative news?

David Cameron is not a nice guy. When Harriet Harman was at the despatch box, during Ed’s paternity leave, Cameron suddenly lost his cool and started slinging mud at the Labour party. He made every nasty allegation he could think of. Watch the You Tube clip and you will notice that it was completely unprovoked. But the nasty party behind him started calling for more.

The Labour backbenchers started chanting, “Coulson, Coulson”, and only then did Cameron realise that he had made a mistake. He quickly finished off with a made-up reference to a made-up person.

It was just a glimpse of the true character of David Cameron. He is the nasty leader. They are the nasty party. While the problem with Labour is that they are too nice: their chant was too timid.

I say to the Labour backbenchers that the next time the leader of the nasty party wants to mess with the reputation of the Labour party, throw it straight back in his face, and use no timidity. Next time, shout him down.

Dan McCurry blogs here.

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