How ignoring both Hackgate advice and EU meltdown will do for Camerlot before too long.

Too late for reflection

There are now three men left standing at the core of the Hackgate scandal – not counting John Yates, who is more peripheral: James Murdoch, David Cameron, and Rupert Murdoch. The junior Murdoch is a dead man walking, and his Dad will fall to the shareholder sword in the end. So the question all thinking people should now ask is, “Why on earth would David Cameron escape with little more than a big question-mark over his judgement?”

Although this is a minority viewpoint, I think that David Cameron’s downfall was sealed the day Andy Coulson was arrested. Mr Coulson has a young family at home and is, I understand, happily married. At his lifestage, the last thing he wants is to be banged up for the next decade. Sooner rather than later, he is going to ‘turn Queen’s’, as the old lags used to say.

This will immediately put Cameron in a spot, as I suspect he is lying about having asked Coulson for hacking reassurance. Look back over the PM’s statements, and you will note (as a media chum pointed out to me yesterday) that he has never received these assurances with witnesses present. It’s a clever lie if it is one, because it’s not the sort of thing you would say to an employee with others present. I just doubt that any such conversation ever took place.

The Met’s new teams of investigators may choose not to press the point – or indeed others they come across. But even so, yesterday’s resignations mean any slim chance of escape has now disappeared for Dave. There are two reasons for this. First, The Slog has learned from police sources that Sir John Stephenson allegedly resigned in disgust at what he now knows Mr Cameron has been up to. He made this abundantly clear with his heavy swipe at the Tory leader’s failure to be properly nailed on the issue of hiring an obvious crook as his Head of Communications. Sir John doesn’t believe the reassurances guff either: he may even believe that Cameron hired the bloke knowingly as (a) a useful operator and (b) a good line into Murdoch.

Second, Rebekah Brooks. I have no contacts into this lady, but I’d imagine she is bitter about the speed with which David Cameron assumed her guilt after the Dowler-hacking revelations. She is just the sort of amoral, not very bright bully who could quickly convince herself that she’d been hard done by – “after all I did for him” and so forth. Intention to harm is nothing without ammunition, but Ms Brooks has plenty of that. The Tooting Norton ring gets up to all sorts of nonsense when nobody’s looking, and there can be little doubt that the Prime Minister indulged in some of it. Last week, Liz Murdoch made it clear to friends that Brooks is a loose cannon for whom she now has no time. Rebekah won’t like that either: and Liz plus hubby Matthew Freud are also renowned for alleged nasal-gazing. To make the infighting worse, the Digger isn’t keen on his son-in-law’s occasional indiscretions, and frequent misbehaviour with chocolate gateau.

In short, the possibility of a Chipping Norton feeding fenzy is very high indeed. There’s the faint possibility that Coulson may clam up and ‘do his bird’. There is zero possibility of Rebekah Brooks doing that.

Some months back, I wrote a widely read post accusing David Cameron of listening to the wrong opinions. I still think this is the case: the man is not so much clubbable as intensely cliquey – and he has always liked the idea of it being Dave’s clique. This has only deepened Cameron’s belief in his invulnerability: a sense of superiority given to him by a privileged upbringing and education anyway. I think this tends to make him accident-prone: and more so since his ‘voice of the People’ Coulson resigned on the principle of not knowing anything.

But even the most politically careful animal is going to struggle in the weeks and months ahead. The summer recess, I keep hearing, will calm it all down. That is palpable bollocks: if anything, it’ll make it much easier for the Met’s missiles to get on with their job. Already this morning, it looks like the recess will be postponed. Part of me will be surprised if it happens at all above a certain level of seniority. Make no mistake: there’s no way the flood of revelations will dry up.

There is, for example, the Gordon Brown dossier. For once, I don’t think Brown is an empty vessel on the subject of Newscorp. Rumour has it that he and Lord Compleat Barsteward have chatted at some length about the subject. Ed Balls too is as much a member of the Brownshirts as ever: it’s been forgotten in the headlong rush of career suicides, but Balls also has the Met on the case of where his secret papers went…and how they got there. There are even some who think Brown may have something of a smoking gun in relation to when his phone was hacked….and why the Conservative Shadow Cabinet seemed to be so well informed about his state of health.

Then there is the role of Andy Hayman, a former senior security cop thought to have been rather closer to Coulson than the ‘once had cup of tea with him’ Cameron’s former Number 10 adviser lied about to the Court at Tommy Sheridan’s trial. Nobody has, as yet, explained how the News of the World obtained the mobile phone number of an anti-IRA security operative in 2006 – but that they did is no longer in doubt. What other secret numbers might have changed hands in that period?

Next, although most other observers are sort of ignoring it, there is without question a Royal Family link to Hackgate that goes well beyond Mulcaire hacking Prince William’s phone. So toxic is this link, in fact, that it seems very possible a senior Newscorper did some kind of deal with Royal solicitors Harbottle & Lewis to give a sanitising opinion on the 300 Royal-related emails known to still exist. As The Slog revealed exclusively yesterday, Rupert Murdoch is frantic at the thought of the reason for this subterfuge getting out…. but other more reliable opinion states categorically that the emails are dynamite – and have appalling Royal security ramifications.

How does this affect Cameron’s chances? Nobody can be certain about that as yet. But this much I do know: the Queen is aware of at least some of the details of this odd legal sequence of events. A major quality newspaper was recently warned off running a story about the Royal dimension – and now regrets spiking it. I understand the story alleges very clear advice given to the Prime Minister about the dangers of his association with Newscorp. Advice which, if its exact nature became public, would do him irreparable damage.

Then we must not forget the political sphere. The important point to remember here is that a bizarre suspension of oil and water has been on Camerlot and the Coalition’s back since May 2010. The Daily Telegraph (worked from behind by the Barclay Brothers, and from the front by the Mail Boat People) has tried to nobble every LibDem in the Cabinet at one time or another. The Guardian is bitterly anti-Cameron, who shall of course never be forgiven for stealing away the pure-white virgin Nick Clegg whom they supported openly in the Election.  The Mirror goes, as always, with Labour and the Unions – the latter of whom have made it their life’s work to destroy Tory education, NHS and cost-cutting reform programmes, aided and abetted by incompetent ministers and interfering LibDems desperate for some profile.

And that’s just the away games. On home ground, the Tebbitt-led anti-EU Lords have made Camerlot’s life a misery. The Tory Right in the Commons are perpetually wound up by the Dacre Mail, normally a newspaper which can be relied upon to run hourly stories about the bestial and/or satanic tendencies of Trade Union leaders. And last but by all means most, the euro-sceptic wing of the Parliamentary and grassroots local Conservative Party grows in strength with every day that dawns to reveal yet another EU cock-up, and another spineless Camerlot obeisance to all things Brussels.

Within this latter crew sits the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, suddenly handed the scandal of the century among his own police force, and thus able to stride towards the crease in The State vs Newscorp. BoJo’s seat is in the wrong House at the moment – and to drop out now as the Mayoral re-election candidate would damn him forever in the eyes of loyal Tories. But he has the sort of fire in his belly to attract the votes of furious Middle England; and above all, he is consumed with the ambition to be Prime Minister sooner rather than later.

People ask me when I put this point of view about Cameron’s chances, “Yes – but who would replace him?” However, the supposition behind this question is that the Conservative Party will, by the time his demise comes to pass, be in control of its own destiny. Today, the PM has jetted off to southern Africa with Bob Diamond (another nice man) and some business bigwigs. He has shaved the trip down to two days in order to be back within 72 hours, but here too his travelling companion is another example of the unwise hobnobbing in which Cameron indulges. But his eagerness to return betrays his unease.

In Europe too, Cameron has nailed his colours to the ‘no more UK eurozone bailouts’ mast. The other undeniable reason why the summer recess has little chance of happening is the imminent meltdown of the eurozone itself, let alone who contributes to it. The speed with which first Greece and then another State hits trouble (probably Italy) will take most laymen by surprise, but the crisis is inevitable. Distracted as we are by the Murdoch slime now leaking out in all directions, the game changer must be Europe’s collapse, the UK economy’s relapse, and the Trade Union chaos that will accompany those events.

In circumstances like those, the Conservative hierarchy remains what it has always been: utterly ruthless. There are already mutterings further down the food chain that there is no way a Cameron-led Conservative Party could now win any election that might follow the dissolution of the Coalition. There are even a few warm vibes coming back from Ed Miliband’s frequent fishing trips among the Cleggies.

The next Election (and it is coming sooner than most people think) will present the electorate with a much clearer choice between those presented as fluffy turncoats on the one hand, and tough realists on the other. Given the state of the world by then, my instinct is that the tough realists would walk it. But I very much doubt if David Cameron will be wanted on voyage.

Related: Why Cameron listens to the wrong majorities

How the Gordon Brown trail might sink Camerlot

Rupert’s law suit distracts attention from a Royal secret

47 thoughts on “How ignoring both Hackgate advice and EU meltdown will do for Camerlot before too long.

  1. The issue here, John, is not whether cameron has indulged or “nose-grazed. It’s his judgement, NHS reform and U-turns, letting Gove loose on education, the trebling of tuition fees, public sector pensions, funding for care for old people, cutting public spending whilst cutting taxes for his corperate mates… the list goes on. He is psychologicaly not PM material. The Tories as a party have proved themselves over and over again as a nasty party, thats why you had 13 years of labour and its likely that the next goverment will be labour and will be there untill people forget how nasty the tories are (13 years?) and vote tory…. blah blah blah and the circle will continue.


  2. And meanwhile the bulk of the British population is disinterested except for the more ripe scandles.
    I didn’t realise until yesterday just how huge News Corps turnover & profit is and just how little comes from the UK. I’m sure one option would be to junk his UK interests — right now with the NOW gone that would boost his bottom line — and if the Dept. of Justice make a bribery case in the US he’d pay the fine like everybody else does.
    Then Rupe is still away scot free and with virtually everything intact. Meanwhile back in the UK the politicians; police & media rip each other apart and we potentially see our free press decimated. Capitalists I can live with but politicians — give me strength.


  3. Just another pointer to our elected ‘representatives’ judgement – we could refer back to their expenses claims and repayments. Those who repaid anything – does that mean that they have already has their ‘second chance’ and been found wanting ?

    Excellent piece but I would agree with others that there is the problem of the DPP politically infuenced link – which might put paid to any really bad and revealing prosecutions going ahead. Though in that case I would guess – the public outcry would be even more substantial than it is over the ‘hacking’ scandal ! Saying that, I am surprised at the electorate not venting their disgust at the last election a tad more ‘Judiciously’. Just a case of Donkeys with rosettes in most cases I should think !


  4. For a large swathe of the electorate, Cameron lost their trust when he reneged on the EU referendum promise in the autumn of 2009, albeit the legislation was already in place. However a lot of people expected him to say ‘bollocks’ to the EU law makers and hold a unilateral referendum anyway, of course our Dave was born without a spine so, down the path of least resistance he went, (that in a nutshell is why he failed to win an overall majority in the election.)

    Of course as we now know, Dave is as eurosceptic as Lord Meddlesome & Ted Heath melded together in a teleporter accident, any residual trust or respect he had is rapidly disappearing like summer snow. These things have a habit of reaching a critical mass, I agree that for Dave (and the towel folder) that moment is drawing ever closer.


  5. The Libdems are not going to walk out,force an election and be wiped out.As markets pile on the pressure against Clubmed,the collapse of the Euro and the sell off in equities on Monday 26 September will finally knock bent coppers,the Family and their ex employees off the front page.In the autumn ,Rupe will enfranchise the Newscorp non voters,so as to increase the Family’s share to over 20 percent(13 today, over 40 of the votes),James will depart BSky B and the stage will be set for a successful bid in 12 months.BTW, Obama is a dead duck if the US markets even smell the D word on their own patch.B


  6. Very good look ahead. As of now, a minor error of judgment could be argued, but you are right. It won’t stay that way.


  7. “The Slog has learned from police sources that Sir John Stephenson allegedly resigned in disgust at what he now knows Mr Cameron has been up to.”

    I’m a long way from home but I thought his resignation followed Sky News exposing that he enjoyed a £12k freebie in a Hertfordshire recuperation club where a Mr Wallis was employed as consultant. Is he lying?

    “There are already mutterings further down the food chain that there is no way a Cameron-led Conservative Party could now win any election that might follow the dissolution of the Coalition. There are even a few warm vibes coming back from Ed Miliband’s frequent fishing trips among the Cleggies.”

    The greatest risk of all IMHO. If Red Ed the Marxist wins the next election, we are truly doomed and it’ll be time to exit the country in droves before they impose an “Exit Tax”.


  8. Thank for giving me nightmares for the next year.
    Not sure I agree on Newscorp’s global situation. If you look at profit line and DECLINE, then the future looks decidedly British.
    But the question, as I keep on saying, is CASHFLOW. Rupe can’t move on without it…and BSkyB was the only way to get it.
    Finally, by the time the Yanks have finished with Murdoch, Wendi Deng will be stinging clients at the Sofitel. The 9/11 issue has nothing to do wih money.


  9. One observation on Stephenson’s resignation is that he was parachuted in after BoJo dumped Sir Ian Blair because he didn’t trust him. Quite rightly so IMHO as “Sir” was a Tony Blair plant.

    But it raises an obvious question in my mind of whether the Met Police has anybody honest and capable enough of taking on this senior position.
    Is corruption in the DNA of the Met Police?


  10. It seems that when Freud has been at the talcum with too much enthusiasm, he throws choc gat at people. Liz Murdoch refers to it as his ‘weapon of choice’.


  11. I may be completely wrong of course, but if corruption is in the DNA of police it is restricted to those ‘bred’ to higher echelons. That is to say those who gained there exalted ranks under the politically correct, Diversity driven New Labour nausea that we have witnessed.

    I suspect that the ‘rank and file’ are probably quite desperate at the way things have been going over the past decade.


  12. I suspect as a general rule you’re right, John. Nevertheless, I have encountered plenty of regular plods (especially traffic cops) who are outright liars. Eg: on at least two occasions I’ve been falsely stopped for jumping red lights late at night only to be given a breathalyser test. As soon as it showed negative, I was allowed to go on my way.
    Various other examples of police-persons lying.


  13. Ah, there but for the grace of …etc. Funnily enough I have ( so far ) been fortunate enough to escape that in the Uk but have been subjected to it in France. To be fined on the spot for speeding, when following a coach which was stopped and allowed to go on without action, when you know you had correctly set the Cruise Control, is very galling.

    But we are talking a different type, if not level of corruption here. The higher echelons probably believe that they were acting for the best, a little like, “I was only following orders”. If you have to follow the particular moral compass of your Masters to be successful it takes a very strong personality or a suicidal one to buck the system. Then of course you would cease to be successful and would remain lower echelon.


  14. Does anyone else suspect that Guido Fawkes is connected to the Gordon Brown smoking gun? All the health rumours about Brown seemed to be fed through him.

    Also his reluctance to follow hackgate, his early pieces saying Coulson was safe etc.


  15. Here’s a paragraph from a Peter Hitchens column, earlier this year;

    “What would happen, if a mid-level Minister,
    were revealed as a recent user of cocaine,
    or a Cabinet Minister, found to have attended
    a recent party, where cocaine was openly snorted?”


  16. Paul aka Guido and I had a major tiff at the time.
    I ran the piece first, Anna Raccoon kindly gave it the oxygen of publicity, and Guido nicked it as his own.
    I’m afraid the simple answer re Guido is that he is often wrong.


  17. I cut and paste this from a Guardian story. For those who have not seen it.

    Thirdly, the record of meetings between Cameron and News International executives released on Friday does not reveal a modernising prime minister governing in the national interest, but a victim of a vested interest. His meetings with News International executives in a year exceed those with all other news organisations put together. Not a single figure from the BBC was granted an audience. It is one of those assemblages of small facts that change the way a public figure is viewed.


  18. I can assure you, police corruption is not limited by rank, when opportunities arise, even the most noble can be tempted.


  19. Just to clarify — are you talking today about McCartney or Lennon — is it Paul or John??? ie Sir John Stephenson — seems the rest of the media is calling him Paul..
    John, please don’t turn your blog into tabloid stuff… it is obvious you have a considerable dislike for everything murdochian, which most right thinking people will agree with, but how does Rebekah Brooks rate this castigation??
    “sort of amoral, not very bright bully” is based on your personal knowledge??
    Keep up the good work, but keep it clean, we have enough mud fights around us every day all ready..


  20. The emphasis on NI is indicative of a very serious problem with Cameron (who must either be totally arrogant or lacking in essential judgement), but I’m not so sure that it isn’t a good thing to leave the BBC out of the equation. Endless stress on the ‘progressive’ agenda on the air waves becomes very tiresome after a while. Balance, please, from publicly funded news organisations!


  21. Indeed – Although I read Guido occassionally, I find he has too much motive in the selection of postings. The reason I like this Blog so much is that it is the nearest thing to ‘true’ news I have found ! It seeks the truth – which is the most potent weapon of all in a society which seems to suffer from too much spin, smoke and mirrors !


  22. Trivia first:

    Cameroon lives in a tiny hamlet called Dean, just south of Chippy. It’s best known locally for ‘Dean pit’, a rubbish dump (old quarry) and latterly ‘re-cycling centre’ which the County Council recently announced is to be closed…grrrr: its my local dump!

    Chippy itself is disparagingly known to Oxonians as the local Himalays: i.e. somebody says they’ve just come from Chippy, so you ask: “Was it snowing?”

    Gossipwise, my mole in West Oxfordshire told me some time ago (pre’ Cameroon’s election success) that the local party hierachy’s concerns about ‘our Dave’ were that he was ‘too soft; too nice’ along the lines of ‘insufficiently ruthless’ to be PM

    So to the Chimaera…

    and which head will be the first to fall. I’ve been tuning in to the Slog for some weeks now and noticed a flow of new bloggers responding to your posts, particularly on Hackgate. Gathering interest, then. That’s good news.

    What, I think, most of us are asking ourselves is how far does all this go: that things have been too cosy between politicians/press/the Met for a long time and that too much of the whole affair has centered on who knew what. But the question I’d have for GingerMuff and Coooolson is: “If you didn’t know that the source of your reporters’ stories was ‘phone hacking’, then where else did you think the information was coming from? Did you not wonder? After all, the source/method was being spectacularly successful. Were you not even curious?”

    I wonder if we’ll hear such a question from the Parliamentary Committees!?


  23. No-one sensible would care. The media would go ape. I admire Hitchens’ consistency without agreeing with anything he says.

    Like the blog by the way.




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