Installing Andy Coulson as the ConDem's spin-doctor-in-chief was always a big risk. But then the Tories, like their City-dwelling compatriots, love to gamble.
Coulson's fall from grace as editor-on-high of The News of the World proved that he was either lacking in observational skills or a basic sense of honesty.
So why would a squeaky-clean proponent of New Politics like Davey Cameron risk bringing such damaged goods on board? Was it just for the dirty thrill of publicly rubbing the nation's face in the inherent sleaze of Tory politics? Or a woefully naive misunderstanding of what integrity is supposed to look like? Perhaps, but then again, perhaps not.
The reality is that, in a cabinet with a majority of millionaires, Andy Coulson was Cameron's only connection to the working class. What could possibly be more uplifting than the story of an “Essex boy made good” (they all start off bad, you know) climbing the ranks of power with a combination of “hard-nosed ambition, drive and more than an ounce of sheer ruthlessness.” All very admirable Tory characteristics. If you're in Cameron's crew, that is.
Coulson's seeming knack of lying (he didn't know hacking was going on? Hard to believe from a, well, hack...) in public placed him in an excellent position to put a left spin on hard-right policies. “The Big Society”, “people power”, “a fairer banking system”; that Coulson was born with a silver tongue in his mouth instead of a silver spoon would have been a dynamite combination, but it was not to last. What with the international blitzkrieg upon Wikileaks and the shameful Murdoch vendetta against Tommy Sheridan on the one side; the expenses scandal and the routing of Vince Cable on the other, a vertitable civil war is raging amongst the media elite. Coulson has been caught up in this fray.
The broader truth is that the Cameron-Clegg Cutsmobile can't keep it's wheels on. Lib Dem David Laws spent only 17 days in his job before revelations of his appropriation of £40,000 of taxpayers' money forced him out.
Sir Alan Budd quit George Osborne's “independent” OBR (it's about as independent as, well, the Independent) after only three months, following Budd's early release of a rose-tinted report to help Cameron out of a tight spot during PMQs.
And Vince Cable's job nearly went nuclear, to use his aptly apocalyptic imagery, when he showed his real feelings about his Tory bedfellows to undercover Telegraph reporters in the wake of devastating student protests at the end of last year.
In fact it was only the colour of Cable's tie, so to speak, that prevented him from getting the sack; if he was a Tory, he would have been done for.
So with such a weak but nasty coalition rampaging around, it's clear that we must knock this ruling class bandwagon off the road before it does any more damage.
The best way to do that is to build the TUC demo on the 26 March as big as humanly possible. Hundreds of thousands of people on the streets can deliver this ConDem catastrophe the crushing blow it truly deserves.
Dan is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner. His most recent documentary was The New Scramble For Africa and his documentaries have appeared regularly on the Islam Channel. He is an organiser for Counterfire and a regular contributor to Counterfire site.
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