This may be jumping the gun somewhat ahead of Rebekah Brookes’, James Murdoch’s and Rupert Murdoch’s appearance ahead of the Culture and Media Select Committee later this afternoon, but I’ve compiled a quick note-form guide as to why the PM should resign, for my own reference. Excuse the short hand:
- He employed Andy Coulson as his press officer while he was leader of the opposition knowing that phone hacking had gone on under Coulson’s watch as editor of News of the World. He did so because he wanted to get ‘in’ with Murdoch and News International, so they would support him in the general election, among other things. In other words, party interest and personal ambition were put above good judgement and unimpeachable integrity, which should have told Cameron that hiring somebody associated with News International’s more unscrupulous practices for electoral benefit looks bad.
- Cameron then took Coulson in to No. 10 as his ‘spin doctor in chief’ despite being warned that Coulson had known about and was therefore complicit in criminal activities at News of the World that were of a much greater scope than the mere celebrity phone-hacking scandal for which Mulcair had been sent to gaol and for which Coulson had resigned as NOTW editor (e.g. Peter Oborne article in the Observer, which Cameron has admitted to having read but discounted as a piece of Guardian muck raking, even though Oborne is allegedly a friend of David Cameron’s – so Cameron was in fact ignoring a piece of friendly advice). This is more serious: this is Cameron retaining a Murdoch man as the person in charge of his office’s PR despite knowing the serious and credible charges against him, + probably sensing there was a lot of truth to the charges, because everyone in the political game really knew what kind of skulduggery the NOTW, other News Intl publications, and other newspapers regularly got up to. Cameron could have asked the Met to begin a fresh investigation but he didn’t, because, by now, Coulson was a good ‘friend’, as were many in Murdoch’s inner circle. He obviously thought: ‘better let sleeping dogs’ lie and is thereby complicit in the News Intl abuses continuing un-investigated.
- Finally, despite the fact that he really knew what Coulson had been up to, and what was still going on, he’s tried to cover up his involvement by pretending – and still claiming – that he knows nothing about Coulson’s illegal activities when he was editor of NOTW and knew nothing about the extent of the phone hacking that had been going on, and by being silent about the extent of his personal connections and intimacy with Murdoch’s inner circle, including Rebekah Brookes, who had been editor when some of the worst instances of phone hacking went on (e.g. Millie Dowler). This has all the appearance of lying and cover up.
- So the PM should go because he’s been guilty of:
- Extremely poor judgement out of electoral and personal ambition
- Been complicit in News Intl’s past and ongoing abuses not being investigated adequately
- And lied about the extent of his knowledge and involvement.