David Cameron professed, rather petulantly last week, that he never received the message from Alan Rusbridger warning him not to employ Coulson as his Director of Communications. Neither did he get the message from Ian Katz, deputy editor of The Guardian, who told Cameron’s closest aide Steve Hilton that Coulson had hired Jonathan Rees, an excon private investigator who had served seven years for planting evidence. And at the time Coulson employed him he was facing a murder charge – for planting again, but this time it was an axe in the back of his partner’s head. (He was later acquitted)
Now you would have thought if this sort of information passed across the desk of the stupidest of ‘close aides’ they would have taken it straight to the boss. But no, Dave knew nothing about it. Why? Because apparently Dave doesn’t like bad news. One can only assume that none of his close aides wanted to be the messenger he shot.
The only other explanations are that a) Dave is telling fibs or b) that Coulson intercepted the information. If the latter is the case, Cameron would be spitting tacks and hanging Coulson out to dry, but he’s not. He actually went as far as to invite him to Chequers two weeks after he’d been sacked, and according to Cameron, they are ‘still friends’. Either David Cameron is a liar or he’s stupid…maybe he’s both.
On Tuesday Cameron’s old pal Rupert Murdoch is up in front of Inquisitor Whittingdale, to confess his sins and express his regrets. Will Murdoch trash Cameron? Probably not, alienating people just for the sake of it is not what he does, and anyway he’s already thinking about how he can resurrect the BSkyB deal in a couple of year’s time. If on the other hand he believes that Cameron is going to yield to the shrill demands of the opposition and do News International real and lasting harm, he may well be tempted to leave some vital questions conveniently unanswered and plant a few signposts pointing in the direction of Number 10.
And then there’s Rebekah. Last time she was in front of this committee she goofed…lied actually. Cameron has been trashing his old riding partner and neighbour for days, which can’t have endeared him to her. Is she going to drop a bombshell, perhaps inadvertently – which she’s done before – or is she going to be clever enough to leave a ticking time bomb for her erstwhile friend by revealing exactly what he knew and when he knew? We shall see. Tuesday’s going to be a nail biting day for Cameron. Wednesday could be a whole new chapter in his political life.