>Coulson, Conservatives and conspiracy – Dispatches investigates phone hacking


LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Conservative Party ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Since entering Government, the Conservative’s Communications Director Andy Coulson has been under pressure to once again explain what he knew about phone hacking by his reporters when Editor of New of the World. The case ended with former Royal Correspondent Clive Goodman, and Private Investigator Glen Mulcaire going to prison. Couslon denied knowing anything, saying Goodman was just a rotten apple in the NOTW barrel. However, the issue has continued to rumble on, and Channel 4 have just broadcast 
an hour long ‘Dispatches’ programme looking into the allegations.

For anyone with any previous knowledge of the case, there was little knew in the programme. However, it did lay out clearly how inconceivable it is that Andy Coulson didn’t know what was going on, and what level of power Murdoch’s New International wield. The claim, backed up by former Deputy PM John Prescott, is that former Cabinet Ministers refused to investigate the NOTW’s methods as they feared very public reprisals. 

Most frightening for the celebrity set is the revelation by former NOTW employees that extensive dossiers are compiled, held, and updated by NOTW journalists. If a story isn’t published, it just sits there like a time-bomb. Most worrying for us mere mortals was that a victim of a rape by a minor celebrity also feared coming forward due to the pressure the would be exerted on her. 

Coulson may be the Conservative’s, and now the Government’s, Director of Communications, but Labour are hardly blameless. Lord Prescott says he repeatedly raised his concerns with Blair and Brown,  and that New Labour feared making a fuss as the Murdoch press was supportive of them. Action could, and should, have been taken years ago to prevent this undemocratic focus of power to Murdoch. 

Can Coulson survive? Probably. Just. The deliberate timing of the programme, in the middle of Conservative party conference, was meant to rile Cameron, but will probably mean the story disappears. For now. What may be the end of Coulson in government is if the story continues to rumble on. The other key moment will be if George Galloway succeeds in getting the case to court, and Coulson is forced to appear under oath. 

It is worth noting the serious allegations were also for the time when the NOTW was under the Editorship of Rebekah Brooks. She wielded great power, and would also have known about phone tapping. Coulson was her d
deputy. Of course the story will continue to focus on Andy Coulson given his closeness to the Prime Minister. A Communications Director should be protecting the the Prime Minister, not the other way around, and Cameron and the Coalition cannot let Coulson continue to be the story. 

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One Comment to “>Coulson, Conservatives and conspiracy – Dispatches investigates phone hacking”

  1. >There may be another key moment in that Coulson has been requested to attend the Scottish Courts to testify as a defence witness in the Sheridan case which opened today.

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