Forget Cameron; target Osborne….
So, the last big set-piece event of #Hackgate has come and gone. I would expect to see the story lose some momentum now during recess and in the midst of other pending crises such as the US Debt one and the real possibility of the Eurozone ceasing its teetering on the economic abyss and actually falling in. As a story it will continue in the background and occasionally flair to the surface but now is the time for it to fade a little; especially after an anti-climatic clash between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
Nothing new was really brought to the surface. Cameron continues to deny knowing much about Coulson and continues to play the innocent victim of an elaborate conspiracy who is just as shocked and aghast as we are. Some of this, doubtless, is genuine, we already know our Prime Minister is more than a little sloppy when it comes to detail so some of Cameron’s testimony about not checking etc, etc rings true to me. It’s a very conceited and Cameron-like mistake to make.
However, what interests me, and what should have been interesting Labour more than it has; is the role played by a certain Chancellor of the Exchequer; Mr George Osborne. One of the few moments when Rebekah Brooks was not lying through her teeth yesterday was when she said it was Osborne who pulled the strings that led to Coulson’s appointment. Osborne has been completly absent from the public stage; a strange occurrence given the mounting economic problems already referred too. When he does appear, at Cameron’s side, he looks like a man who knows an awful lot about what is going on; more than the watchers indeed, and furthermore he looks afraid of it being concretely proved and coming into full public view.
Cameron is sloppy with detail and could well have been easily prevailed upon to give Coulson his ‘second chance’; dismissing concerns with an Eton-like ‘dont bother me with details’ wave. Osborne however, looks like he was well in the know and my guess is that the weak link at the top of the Conservative Party may well not prove to be Cameron at all but in fact will prove to be Osborne. In that regard our concentration upon Cameron looks excessive and, yes, it is starting to look petty because the Cameron-Coulson angle is one of the few left in our armoury. We should perhaps stop digging in the most obvious (and superficially the potentially most rewarding area) and starting asking some serious questions about the relationships and dealings between Andy Coulson and the Chancellor; who knows what we will unearth if we do.