New Statesman examines the worsening problems for David Cameron’s spin doctor, Andy Coulson, former editor of Murdoch’s News of the World:
I ask another former Met commander if the New York Times allegations of a “long-term” relationship between News International and Scotland Yard are true. “I couldn’t possibly comment,” he tells me with a chuckle, adding: “But feel free to draw an inference from my silence.” The former senior Met official draws my attention to how the former assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, who led the original police investigation into the phone-hacking allegations, is now a columnist on the News International-owned Times. “It’s not necessarily improper but it doesn’t help, does it?” says the retired officer.
But Coulson is regarded as too valuable – both as a spinner and as a bridgehead to the Murdoch media empire. Even his critics seem to assume that he is very good at his job. Yet, despite operating in a rather benign media environment, dominated by the pro-Cameron echo chamber in the press, Coulson’s links to the Murdochs did not translate into votes. As the Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband pointed out to me: “The Murdoch press has less influence than it used to . . . Twenty-three front pages [in the Sun] supporting the Tories and the Tories got 36 per cent of the vote.”